I Put a Shell On You
Roleplaying Log: I Put a Shell On You
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Gamora's a mollusk. Quill's a dead man. Zatanna is called in to save the day.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: February 13, 2019
IC Location: Shadowcrest Manor, Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 14 Feb 2019 07:14
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

"So let me get this straight…"

Rocket eyeballs the tank, tapping a pointy claw on the glass as he observes the otherwise rather unfascinating creatures within it.

"Gamora called you at stupid o'clock asking where we were so she could meet up with us and you gave her direct coordinates to where we are, neglectin' to tell her about Zee's unorthodox security features."

The corners of his mouth tug back into that sort of malicious grin one might wear when watching someone they were particularly mad at use their toothbrush after you'd used it to clean between your toes. Not to say that Rocket's ever done that. ….this year.

He retracts his disturbingly human hand from the tank to glance back over his shoulder and up at the man who so adamantly reminds everyone that his name is Star-Lord. "Oh Quill," Rocket says, chuckling as he starts to shake his head. "You are so dead."

***

Behind Rocket, a scrawny tree bends forward, his branch-like arm bent at an angle so that his gnarled fingers can poke at the glass long after his furry Guardian friend turns to speak with their fearless leader. The handheld video game forgotten for a short while, young Groot squints, peering deeply into the tank, too preoccupied with the notion of having a mollusk friend and the certain death that would follow if this all gets rectified quickly.

All he can add is a low snort-laugh of amusement. The semi-sadistic kind of amusement. Despite how grumpy he's been, the upward tug at the corner of his mouth sure speaks volumes to echo the raccoonoid alien's sentiment.

***

There should probably be molluscoid aggression happening in that tank, right now. There certainly seems to be trace evidence of such a thing: strange, gouged patterns wrought in the sediment at the bottom of the tank pair with chalky scrapes on several bivalve shells to suggest a flurry of energetic movement at some time in the not-so-distant past.

Yet, all is quiet.

***

The cute pair of clownfish in the saltwater tank, tasked, perhaps, to make the trespassers comfortable before they're sent to deal with law enforcement, or worse, are also nowhere to be found.

Probably because they're too busy hiding behind a colorful clump of coral on the far side of the space.

***

"First. Its Star-Lord."

Peter Quill looks slightly nervous as he leans back on his heels just slightly, staring at the tank. Arms crossed over his chest, that battered leather jacket of his adopted Ravager clan creaking just slightly with the movement.

"Second. You can't blame me for that one. I didn't think she would just fly directly here. I mean who even does that! I thought there would be I don't know…stealth angles or something." He grumbles as he taps one finger against his elbow. "And don't look so happy I'll be dead. I'm totally using you as a shield when she tried to shank me."

He frowns though, leaning forwards slightly towards the tank.

"…she still in there? Do clams even sleep? I don't see any movement." A pause. "You don't think she killed everything else in the tank do you?"

A pause.

"Have you tried Zee again?" Then he pulls his phone out. "I'm gonna try Zee again." A longer pause. "Stupid phone things why can't they have like sensible com tech on his planet!"

***

These days, Zatanna Zatara can usually be found in two places - the secret Titans Mall headquarters in Long Island and Gotham University from which she is bound to graduate in a few months. It just so happens that with Peter Quill calling right this moment, she is in none of those places. Instead, she's in a supermarket somewhere in downtown Gotham, roaming up and down the bakery aisle for ingredients to make homemade chocolate.

And by homemade, she means the Italian version of homemade - completely from scratch. If she had it her way, she would be harvesting the cocoa herself, but seriously, who has the time for that?

She's busily going through her mental list and adding a bag of sugar to her basket when she gets the call, a puzzled smile curling on her lips when the caller ID tells her who is on the other line. "Hi, Peter," she greets when she finally answers, as cheerful as ever. "What's up?"

To her credit, she doesn't immediately ask what did you do?

***

"Oh thank god," Peter's response is fast and relief is obvious even over the poor medium of the phone. Of course then he has to be Peter. "I didn't do anything but…uh…how do you unmollousc someone?"

***

Rocket smirks at Groot and then looks back from the tank to Quill. "Soon to be Dead-Lord," he predicts, crossing his arms. "Seriously though. Even if she didn't directly try to fly here, she woulda tried coming through the door, right? But tossing all that aside, it's Gamora. When is she anything but direct?"

He shakes his head, sliding another look at the deceptively calm looking waters in the tank out of the corner of his eye. "How would I even know? I've only ever seen 'em in soup." He studies the tank again at the question of the possibility of Clamora having killed everything else in there. "I ain't gonna rule it out. She's gotta be mad. I mean lookit those marks there. Try sticking your hand in there, maybe she'll come out. Or take your fingers off. Either way, it'll give us an answer."

Gesturing vaguely over his shoulder, he doesn't bother looking back at Quill as the man pulls out his phone again to try contacting Zatanna. "Standard Terran tech sucks. Thought you figured that by now. Gimmee a couple'a days and I can throw something better together. That is, if you're still around for it. Either way I'll trick out Zee's phone."

His ears perk when he hears Zatanna pick up, and as Quill opens up with that giant failure of an innocuous inquiry, Rocket hops up to grasp the man's arm and drag the phone close enough to helpfully add in explanation: "Quill invited one'a ours over and forgot to tell'er that yer place is warded. Apologies in advance if there was anyone you knew in that tank."

***

Another laugh— louder this time — comes from Groot, who has thrown back his head a little for the full effect. All at Quill's expense.

"I am Groot," he sighs nasally, shaking his head as he glances at the man, then back toward the tank to study its lack of fish and the deep yet obscene gouges in the sand. "I am Groot."

He also takes a second to look up when the Star-Lord calls Zee for help, failing to withhold any snickering that slips past his teeth.

***

"How do you un…"

Zatanna pauses when Rocket grabs the phone and chimes in.

"Alright, gimme a minute, are you at the house? I'll meet you at the house."

And with that, she hangs up. Given the fact that she doesn't really have to ask for the details suggests that she knows precisely what happened. This probably isn't the first time she's had to unmollusc someone due to the property's security measures.

It doesn't take long. She finishes paying for her groceries like a surprisingly regular person before she moves out, ducks into an alley, and vanishes. The moment she steps out of the portal she made, she's right at Shadowcrest's gates, moving up the driveway and towards the massive double doors, which are already opening - as always, Shadowcrest anticipates its mistress' every need.

"Guys? I'm here!" she calls out, letting Kasim, the turbanned 'butler', help her out of her coat. Still carrying her purchases in a plastic bag, she makes her way through the front hallway and atrium and towards the tank situated in the middle of it. Its placement was deliberate, because almost from the moment she steps through the door, she can see how many people have tried to trespass on the grounds.

Other than the fish, the present occupants of the tank are…well, one mollusc.

"So who's your friend?" she asks, having absolutely no idea that what she's looking at is just the spaceship and not Clamora herself. If she knew she was green, she'd be able to tell easily, but she doesn't. "Honestly I had no idea there was more of you. Who else is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy?"

…and because she has absolutely no idea that said friend is the Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy, and probably angry over this development, she slowly reaches into the tank with her fingers.

***

"DON'T DO IT!"

"NO DON'T!"

"I AM GROOT!"

***

Little-known fact about bivalves: many of them can swim. It's not something of relevance to most people. They're not at the top of the list of sea life people yearn to add to a fancy aquarium.

Gamora was also blissfully unaware of the surprising mobility of some bivalves until just recently, and would no doubt have preferred to stay that way, but we don't always get what we want in this life.

Bivalves are filter feeders. They are combination-foot-and-tongue in a shell. It is not physically possible for Gamora to be silently, motionlessly waiting to inflict violence on the parties responsible for her condition, because she has no eyes or ears, and most of her violence-causing parts are also absent. It's not physically possible for her to know what her condition is.

And yet.

Those pale, slim fingers dip into the tank and there is a sudden FLURRY OF MOVEMENT as a hinge-shelled creature butterflies up with lunatic intensity to snap shut on the tip of one of them — and, a second later, let go, shell gapped open as it lazily floats and tumbledrifts back down to the bottom of the tank. It stays open for perhaps two, three seconds, and then snaps angrily shut. A small jet of loose grit spews out when it does.

Can bivalves be sullen?

***

The echoes of multiple shouts of 'NO DON'T' is slowly fading as the green one jets into view to clamp down on Zee's finger then lazily spiral away. Peter just winces slightly. "Uh…yeah…um…that green one is Gamora." A pause. "She's a bit you know…fighty."

Understatement of the year there.

"Wait…is there other one her…ship? Did she have someone with her? Rocket, Zee can you clam a ship?" Magic is just. The worst. It is way too confusing to Peter Quill.

The so called Leader of the So Called Guardians of the Galaxy peers into the tank, leaning slightly towards the glass.

"Well there is Drax, he's off looking for his daughter or trying to kill a Titan I think. And then I guess Cosmo is an honorary part. He's watching a space station that's a severed head of a Celestial."

A pause before he looks towards Rocket. Leans towards Zee and stage whispers. "Rocket and him pretend not to like each other a lot."

Then back towards the tank.

"…but yeah. That's Gamora. She's been looking into family stuff too." A long pause. "She's alive which means it went well."

***

And suddenly, another clam comes out of nowhere.

It bursts from her periphery like a tiny rocket, bubbles streaming from its wake to snap into the tip of her pinky and amidst the horrified cries of the rest of the Guardians who attempt to prevent her from making a mistake, she shrieks, less from the pain and more from the surprise at another clam shooting out of nowhere to…

…wait, did it just try to BITE her?

Zatanna stares as the mollusc - a green mollusc - drifts back down to the tank, and huffs a small gout of saltwater and silt.

"….she seems…nice…" she begins faintly. "Um…I don't know much about clams but if clams could get mad, that's probably what it looks like. Alright, well…let's fix this, shall we? I mean, she'll feel better once she's back to normal, right?"

A whispered word has the sullen Clamora lifting from the bottom of the tank, placed carefully in a spare patch of floor. And as Quill continues on about his other group members, the magician glances over at him; while the smile remains, the knit on her brow grows in prominence, trying to picture an alien toting a baby while punching a Titan in the face, utterly unaware that Peter means people from Titan and not their mythological counterparts, and a dog in a spacesuit sitting on top of a disembodied head floating somewhere in the cosmos.

Space is weird.

"Anyway, spaceships can't turn into clams unless they exhibit some kind of intelligence so uh…I'm guessing whatever your friend took to get here has an AI or something similar." She takes a few steps back, and points to the clam, uttering the backwards words necessary to reverse the trespasser spell and return Gamora to her normal state.

***

Clawed hands tug down at his face as he runs them down each side from over his eyes as Zatanna reaches into the tank. He likes Zee! He doesn't want to see her lose any fingers over stupid Quill mistakes!

And from the hidden depths, lo and behold, the deadly creature striketh—! Only it's not a shark and a mollusc is pretty unimpressive no matter which way you look at it. Rocket jumps, more in reaction to Zatanna's shriek than from the green shellfish's attempted attack. It all ends so anti-clam-actically that he just sort of stares at the tank. "Oh yeah. That's definitely her," he finally says, nodding.

He lets Quill take care of the explanations regarding their so-called team, scowling a little at the mention of Cosmo.

He does have to give Quill a look when he's asked if Gamora had anyone along with her, giving an exaggerated shrug. "How'm I supposed to know? You were the one that talked to her last!" Although as Zatanna poses possibilities for explanation of the other clam, he fingers his chin, nodding.

"Magic makes no sense."

That stated, he moves back as the magician does her thing. Because he doesn't want to be first in line of Gamora's sight when she comes out of her shell.

***

It was for science. He's not a (complete) monster.

Groot tried his best to not sound so gleeful when Zatanna put her hand in the tank. When people lose fingers, they couldn't grow them back so easily. And that was the last thing he would've wanted for Zatanna.

Really. Believe him.

He chortles under his breath, keeping it as quiet as he can even though the whole mollusc ordeal has been thoroughly entertaining. With a wheeze, he placidly slaps his palm down on his thigh, leaning all the way forward so that he can hide this. Except he's doing it poorly, thanks to how much his knobby shoulders are bobbing. Maybe he's lucky that they're all paying attention to Quill and the clam named Gamora. The last thing he needs is another parental lecture.

***

Hard to say what Clamora — GAMORA — makes of being lifted up out of the water on invisible currents of magic. It's easier to tell what she thinks about being out of the water, and set down on the floor. Not verbatim thoughts, per se, unless someone in the room is a clam-whisperer, but the gist is clear. The shell snaps open and closed vigorously enough that the transformed Gamora bounces and wobbles and tumbles around in a scant few inches of space like a kernel of popcorn in a hot pan, reluctant to achieve its final form.

Regrettably, Gamora is not reluctant to achieve her final form. The words are scarcely out of the Zatara witch's mouth before she explodes into movement, all of that rattling, bopping, flip-flopping momentum unfolding into a blur of soaking-wet green, black, and silver. Gamora is green and black, with the skin and the hair, so that accounts for that; the silver, on the other hand, is Godslayer, and it sings an eerie, chiming note as it bullets through the air on an angle to viciously murder part of the floor between Peter Quill's legs.

"—THIS INDIGNITY ON YOUR BEHALF, QUILL-HUMAN," she's snarling — probably the tail end of a long, similar tirade that no one could understand previously, because no one here is a clam-whisperer.

She hasn't noticed the others yet. She will.

***

"Woah WOAH! PUT THE SWORD AWAY!" Quill calls out as he hurriedly back peddles so the mighty Godslayer misses anything important. I mean he hopes that it would have missed anything important AND CONTRACRY TO GAMORA'S THOUGHTS AT THE MOMENT THAT IS IMPORTANT but you know he's seen what she can do with that sword and he does not want to take chances.

"I didn't know you would come into the atmo that fast! I tried to call you back!" He adds, up on his tiptoes now because LOOK THAT IS SCARY as his hands palms up before him. "Stop stabbing our host's stuff! You could hurt someone!"

…he knows that's the idea…but…you know…

He's gotta play it cool.

"Zee, this is Gamora. She's the Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy." A beatpause. "No seriously it's totally an official title." A longer pause. "And I can hear you laughing Groot!"

Someone distract her before he dies please.

***

Ice-blue eyes widen into dinner plates when the green mollusc unfolds and achieves her usual form in a flurry of movement, Godslayer flashing under Shadowcrest's mystical lights and narrowly misses Peter Quill and his alien tackle by millimeters. Lips part in shock; she doesn't even care about the floor. She can't help but be somewhat confused, but could anyone blame her? She's not accustomed to friends getting mad at friends so…well. Lethally.

…alright, there was that bit in Titans Island but to her credit, she wasn't in her right mind. Gamora looks fully in control of her mental faculties and what's more, everyone is treating this as if this was normal.

Formal introductions aside, she lifts her hand in a wave towards the tall, green alien woman. "Hello," she tells her, perfectly amiable. "I'm sorry about that, Shadowcrest's security methods are a little unorthodox, but it does the job in a non-lethal way." Though it might be lethal to any thinking person's dignity. "If I had known that a friend of theirs is coming to visit, I would have made the necessary adjustments."

She reaches down to pluck her bag of ingredients, her other extending a hand for a shake.

"My name's Zatanna Zatara, or Zee like Peter says. It's nice to meet you, do you need dry clothes, or maybe a hot bath?" She did come from a long way after all.

***

Rocket opens his mouth. Then he closes it and decides to just sit back and watch the show. He has completely faith that Gamora and Peter Quill will get this settled without them being one less a Guardian. If not then he's pretty damn sure Quill would've been dead long before they managed to save Xandar. So yeah. This'll be fine.

…all right, he'll give it fifty-fifty.

Even if it is fun watching Quill hop around like that.

"Gams! Glad ya made it," the currently smallest Guardian greets, speaking up after a deliberate cough. He holds his hands up, either to calm her (hah!) or show that he's not armed to the teeth (but why should he be when they're all friends here! -and yes he does have his pistols in his holsters on his belt but they're not in his hands so that's a big difference!)

"Yeah, Quill was an idiot but you gotta expect that by now and at least we got this taken care of as soon as possible. So welcome to Terra. This is our friend Zee and this is her very nice and strangely magical house that she's been very thoughtful in letting us bunk in on occasion." Pause. "Oh, Groot's here too. Say hi, turd."

***

Nope, still laughing. Maybe he'll stop now.

…Hold on. Okay, there we go.

Groot inhales, rising back up to expelling a sigh as he wipes away a (fake) tear. "I am Groot," he says with a teenage nonchalance no one can get used to, dismissing Quill's exclamations with a wave of his hand.

Now that he thinks about it, however, he should have been recording all of this. For posterity.

Say hi, turd. "I am Groot," comes a snort, but the young ent raises a hand in greeting to the green death machine, leaning back like he owns the place. Nothing is wrong with this picture! He's just. Skinnier. And more attitude-y. It's fine.

***

"The sword is away, Peter Quill. The sword is in the floor." Which fact does not solve the problem of Gamora herself, advancing on the Brave Leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy just as quickly as he's beating his backward retreat. They're approximately the same height, but Gamora has a way of taking up space. "Why would you not expect me to be entering Earth's atmosphere when the first words out of my mouth were 'I am about to enter Earth's atmosphere,' Peter Quill?? Unlike you, I don't care to dither and discuss my feelings about every decision or action that must be made! I was not having long conversations with Computer about my feelings with regard to atmospheric-"

It's Zatanna's 'hello' that breaks Gamora's almost tidal forward surge off. She slows, turns her head, angles an eye over her shoulder, and one by one it lands on the others in the room — Zee first, then Rocket, and then Groot. There is a pause.

Lest Peter think this is over, she snaps her head back around to arrow him with a dark look, then turns to face the others. "Rocket. You look well," she says, as though she a) hadn't been a mollusc, b) didn't just try to castrate Peter Quill, and c) doesn't smell intensely of fish. Because she does. Smell intensely of fish.

Her eyes flick Grootward, and there's a slow frown, brows buckling. "I expected significant growth. Why is Groot not receiving sufficient nutrition?" Quill gets another suspicious look, like it's probably his fault Groot is eating nothing but pizza, or something-

And then she does finally turn to face Zatanna. Amber eyes wander the young woman head to toe, her expression still veiled with muted thunderclouds.

"This is your house?"

They just said that it was.

Her eyes tick toward the tank. The one remaining bivalve. They return to Zee. There is a pause. "You have a very strange way of dealing with intruders," she says, finally and, after a beat, repeats: "It's very strange." It sounds…judgey.

***

"Usually it takes longer than two minutes to get an approach vector figured out and initiate a full burn landing! It's like you had an AI on the ship or some— " Peter finishes that thought as he slooowly glances towards the ship. "—oh right you had an AI on the ship."

…well…that is awkward.

Thankfully the glare breaks as Quill is able to gingerly step away from the sword in question as it still sits quivering in the wood. "…I was not an idiot I was half asleep!" He mutters in Rocket's direction as he skitters to the side slightly once again. "Anyway Groot's eating fine!" They only have pizza like three times a week or something. "…and it's magic." An explanation of the defense systems. "Like. Real actual magic. Not like space magic that people keep insisting isn't magic."

A pause.

"Definitely take the bath." Peter so helping his chances of survival here isn't he. It is like he wants to die. "But yeah, Zee's…" And there is a grateful look in her direction. "Is a friend. Been good to us."

…Peter at least seems to be taking this in stride. This seems to be normal for them. Just what kind of friends ARE THESE?!

***

"Aw, you guys are sweet," Zatanna says towards the other Guardians and the nice things they are saying about her, her good mood and nature somehow remaining intact despite the damage to her antiquated hardwood - wood that is already starting to repair itself around Godslayer as it stands there waiting to be plucked out of it by some kind of chosen one. As Gamora and Peter argue about vectors and atmospheric entries, she turns to Kasim and quietly addresses him, handing off her bag of ingredients.

When she turns back around, she takes the full brunt of Gamora's judgmental expression.

This is your house?

"Sure," she tells the alien woman easily. "I mean, it's technically my father's, but he's not here at the moment. He's off somewhere trying to make sure nothing destroys the world. But since he technically owns it, there's some aspects of the house I can't alter - it's only when he officially bequeaths it to me that I can access its full potential. But I'm sorry this happened."

You have a very strange way of dealing with intruders.

"Well, there was a time when we had to keep the mansion close to a magical swamp and creatures kept getting in," she remarks. "Daddy had Shadowcrest incinerate every unauthorized entity that stepped through the perimeter, but it zapped a baby Chimera once while I was around and I was so horrified that Daddy consoled me by changing it and asking me what I wanted it to do instead. I was seven at the time."

The young magician reaches and pats the tank fondly.

"But at least the house doesn't accidentally murder anything now."

She would continue the story, and give the rest of them a glimpse of what it's truly like being raised in a magical household, but then Peter tells Gamora to take a bath. The young woman simply stares at him from where she stands.

"Wow, Peter, it's like you want to die today," she observes.

***

"Quill likes living on the edge," Rocket notes.

He glances over at Groot when Gamora suggests that he hasn't been properly fed, but the raccoonoid says nothing more on that matter as he folds his arms again.

"Anyway, so is that other thingy in there your ship, Gams?" he asks, jerking a thumb back at the tank. Look Quill, he's trying to help you.

***

Pizza is basically the best of the food pyramid the Terrans scream about. Or did they scream more about eating the fruits and vegetables? Either way, he's been eating. Something.

To this, Groot adds, "I am Groot." Because he's a growing tree. He's fine, don't worry about it.

Also, as Quill tries to 'help,' Groot snorts. Violently. They all know he can't turn back now.

***

Oh right, you had an AI on the ship.

There are whole volumes — shelves of volumes — of sentiment and history bound up in the slow exhale from Gamora, eyes closing, in the wake of that remark. She doesn't even turn to give him a look; she stays where she is, facing Zee, and lets that moment of weary, exasperated long-suffering roll through and out of her again. At least it seems to deflate some of that seething annoyance in her. Her eyes are still sharp when they open, but no longer quite so hard. "Thank you for, I assume, keeping them out of trouble." This, to Zatanna. A nice sentiment! Polite! ..Polite to Zee, anyway. The fact that the rest of them are here and not in jail or reduced to their constituent particles or something suggests that someone's been making the effort, anyway.

She glances up at Quill's quip about the bath, but Rocket heads that entire debacle off at the pass. His question sends her attention to the tank, thoughtful. "Probably," she decides. "It disappeared just before I…" Clearly, trying to describe the moment at which she became a mollusc is beyond her. Her expression eloquently passes through phases of being unsettled, disgusted, and then angry before smoothing out again. "Before I," she finishes. By then she's already giving Groot a pensive, assessing look that contains something like an actual mote of concern, but since circumstances make it difficult to press, she leaves the matter of his diet aside, and focuses on the other interesting, perplexing development in the room.

Zee, and her explanation about Shadowcrest. Gamora listens attentively, and then slowly knits her brows together. She watches Zee reach out to pat the tank, and the uncertainty in her expression only deepens. "Your father sounds…like a good father. But, clams? You were seven and what you most wanted was a tank of clams?" Her study of Zatanna is openly curious, now, one brow climbing toward her hairline. "Please. You must explain."

***

"They've been very careful making sure the trouble doesn't follow them here as well," Zatanna assures Gamora. "I mean, it's virtually impossible anyway but at least they're very conscientious about taking it outside, so to speak. But it was my pleasure - they're a blast to have around and it keeps the house lively. It's just my father and me here, almost all my life, and now that he's off and I'm in college, and most of my time calls me away to another city, I tend to get worried about whether the house gets lonely since it has a will of its own. So them bunking in helps…I'm sure Kasim likes having the company, don't you, Kasim?"

The butler says nothing, already there after putting away Zatanna's ingredients for chocolate.

"Anyway, I've always loved the sea and almost everything about it, and as a child, I collected shells. There was also the time when I got accidentally turned into a clam for touching something in his study I wasn't supposed to, and got placed in our aquarium by mistake and the only way Daddy even noticed was because I was also gassy at the time so I was…blowing bubbles repeatedly. I guess my seven year old self kind of just equated 'punishment' with 'aquarium.'"

There's a small laugh. "You'll find out pretty quickly that my stories tend to be very strange, but 'strange' is the norm around me, honestly. But I'll leave you guys to it as I should probably start with my project for the day - I'm making homemade chocolate. So if there's anything at all that you need for your comfort, don't hesitate to ask Kasim."

***

Peter has to be himself man. Living on the edge is the only way he knows how to roll. It comes from people threatening to eat him for most of his young adult life. The once space pirate though breathes a sigh of relief before he gives Rocket a glance out of the corner of his eyes.

"…yeah…" A look back towards Zee. "That does sound like a good story…" A thoughtful look. "…and good stories need some good food to go with them. I'll order pizza."

…IT IS TOTALLY GOOD FOOD.

Also he lived. Mostly because A) Guardians are family and you only maim family. Mostly. LOOK IT IS COMPLICATED! And B) Zee is an amazing distraction.

A pause. "…wait they found you out cause you had gas." A longer pause. "That is fantastic…" A longer pause. "…also we should prolly figure out where to unmollusc Gamora's ship at some point— wait did you say chocolate?"

***

Eh, they can deal with the ship later. It's not going anywhere. And who knows? Maybe in its new state it'll be find itself happy as a…clam. Sometimes the simpler things in life….

The main crisis has been averted and the look Peter Quill casts Rocket is returned with a knowing smirk. Yeah you owe him. No one chopped up, manhood still in tact, ego…eh. You can't win 'em all.

The story or the very thought of a gassy Zatanna is enough to elicit a snicker from Rocket, who doesn't even bother trying to hide it. "Chocolate! Love that stuff. Hey Gammy, let's get you settled and uh…dried off or whatever, and we can catch you up on things here while you catch us up on whatever the hell you were doin' up top."

***

Groot may have perked at the notion of eating more pizza. He plays it off, though, going through the moody teenage routine now that things have settled down into Zatanna sharing more of her home (along with her personal) history.

But you know what, he has to laugh again because of gas. Farting in any form is hilarious and he's immature like that. Just like Quill and Rocket, since they are bad influences and part of the reason why he acts this way.

Dark eyes widen a little at the mention of chocolate, his thinly-veiled curiosity leaning toward the potential eating of it as he nods, getting up from his seat to get…his game.

Hey, they've all caught up. It's only fair he gets to play video games again after spending quality time with everyone.

***

It's extremely difficult to stay angry with Zatanna Zatara.

Gamora is not the first person to make this discovery — just the latest in a long line of people disarmed by her gregarious personality. Which is not to say that Gamora could not remain angry with Zatanna Zatara, of course…just that it would be less effortless than her usual capacity for infinite disdain.

Besides, Zee gives her a new target onto which to foist the blame when she says that the house itself has a will of its own, effectively making the house an entity, and therefore a valid object of what will inevitably become a lasting grudge. This puts Zatanna in the clear, not least because the magical heiress says that she, too, has accidentally been turned into a clam. This makes them…something. Veterans. Inveterate…invertebrates?

Whatever.

The sea-change (ha!) is obvious in her expression, anyway, some of the flinted edges rounding down again. For now, at least, the invader from outer space is pacified. It probably helps that Quill's frenetic attention span is about to remove him from her immediate vicinity. "Thank you. I suppose I should…" She glances down, and plucks at her shirt. It's already starting to feel sticky. "…wash." Two long strides later, she pulls the Godslayer smoothly up out of the innocent floor — not so much as an apology, either! Rude! — and turns to face Rocket with a nod. "A bath, and then we can catch up. I have potentially interesting news." She seems unconcerned about the ship, for her own part; like Rocket, she seems to feel it's fine where it is. Groot, on the other hand, receives another frown that she would kill a man for calling 'maternal,' watching him retrieve his handheld, and then murmuring to Rocket as she sheathes her blade, and it collapses back down. "Are you entirely sure that this is a normal rate of growth?"

She asks that question as she begins to walk, presumably toward a bath. She has no idea where a bath is, but that doesn't seem to be stopping her; maybe she figures Rocket will make sure she goes the right way. She will probably eventually figure out that wandering willy-nilly through Shadowcrest is a dicey endeavor, though. Probably.

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