It's Everywhere You Never Wanted to Be
Roleplaying Log: It's Everywhere You Never Wanted to Be
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Coulson makes an offer to Rocket and Groot. Atli makes a surprise appearance.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: December 03, 2018
IC Location: The New Grand Buffet, New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 05 Dec 2018 00:41
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The New Grand Buffet doesn't have the best review score in a town full of foodies. But what it does have is a lot of food. Stuff from all over the world, in fact. And plenty of it. It seemed a good bet for Rocket and Groot's teen appetite.

Newly released from the safehouse and back in New York City, Coulson had quietly issued the dinner invitation to the two aliens. They don't realize, perhaps, how much they helped him feel himself again. Emma Frost fixed his brain, but their companionship, the fact that they were genuinely glad to see him, and their comraderie in the impromptu field did something to fix his heart. Where once "Deadeye" was the stern and routinely exasperated Dad figure nobody asked for, he's now somewhat more humble. Oh, he can summon the Dad vibe still, but it's a very tired sort of a Dad, and he hasn't been doing it at these two.

At any rate, he'd wanted to treat them. And talk to them.

He himself is not a foodie. It's hard to be picky about food when you have subsisted on MREs in the field for weeks at a time, or have literally licked the crumbs from a saltine pack and drank cold, stale coffee because there was just no time to do anything else. So he picked a few things and that was that.

The 'Suit' is not back on yet. At the moment it's still flannels, today in a dark blue and black plaid, jeans, white teeshirt. If he looks non-descript in a suit he looks even more so in casual clothes. Of course, there's not much danger, say, of the waitress overlooking their table, given the company.

* * *

It'd be one too many dads in the room for a recently developed adolescent flora anyway. Far be it for Rocket to admit that he might know how Coulson felt like whenever he had to oversee the antics of the Guardians, of course.

An invitation for free, cheap food is not something that the once again smallest Guardian will turn down. An invitation from their sorta handler-turned-unusual friend? It's needless to say that the Guardians have warmed up to Phil Coulson enough that they wouldn't say no on that count either.

It would have been stranger to be in the company of a fully suit-wearing S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but while Rocket's relieved that he won't have that visual badge hanging over their mealtime, he's still slightly concerned about the mental state of the previously pronounced dead agent. At least if nothing else, he's fully convinced that Deadeye's still Deadeye. …more or less. There are some things that kind of gnaw at him but he hasn't let himself think too much on those details.

Dressed in fairly casual clothing himself, undoubtedly from some children's section of a department store (although no less fashionable- eesh, the things people dress their kids up in these days!), Rocket's unabashedly left the hood of his sweatjacket down rather than try to hide his unusually furry features as he stuffs a forkful of some noodle type thing or another into his mouth. It's clear that he hasn't had a second thought about whether such flavors go together judging from the fully loaded plate before him, some stuff piled onto another. He's not a foodie either, really. If it's edible and tastes good, then that's about as much as he'll be picky about. He and Groot have been on the meager rations living here and there, back before they got caught up with Quill and company and suddenly became Guardians of the Galaxy.

* * *

Trees shouldn't be eating people food. Trees should be getting water, good soil, and sunlight.

Except this tree has been on a food bender for forever and hasn't experienced any bad side effects from it. Everything tastes delicious! Even the crap no one can identify.

Like Rocket, Groot actually has no problems being spotted for a meal or three. Despite his adolescent attitude, he seems to be acting more neutral since Coulson's the one doing this for the two. (Respect? Nah, couldn't be.) He can be seen with Coulson.

Still wearing his bright chartreuse padded coat, the young ent saunters in behind Rocket with two whole plates of his own. Had he a camera phone, Groot would have been trying to take pictures of the mass collection of food he's procured under garish lighting. Instead, he numbly plops himself down, ignoring everyone and everything to focus on eating. He doesn't care what's being said about the 'freaks' people are afraid of, so he doesn't bother to hide himself just yet.

* * *

Coulson gives a half smile to see them eating so gustily. He is however, well aware of the patrons. So he does flash his SHIELD badge at the waitress and lift an eyebrow that seems to imply, without him saying a word, that she can easily triple or quadruple her tip by settling people down. She doesn't know he's not quite on active duty yet.

After pleasantries and lighter conversation have been exchanged, he says softly, "Have you two been paying attention to the local legislation lately?"

He's not aiming for good alliteration, it just happens that way. Nor does he look like he would be particularly surprised if Rocket and Groot never quite bothered to figure out what the local laws look like, no matter where they are.

* * *

Like as their 'lighter conversation' consists of subjects more or less toeing the line of legality and skirting direct questions involving first days back to work and such. And where Groot would have perhaps volunteered something more, even if in limited phrasing as was natural for him, it seems in this state that as a moody teenager he's less inclined to talk to people. At least he's behaving a little better in present company.

Rocket doesn't even lift his head as he shovels some fried rice into his mouth when Coulson asks the question that's likely been beeing to be asked for some time now. "Trying hard not to," he says, bits of rice falling as he speaks. He chews and swallows before reaching over to grab his drink glass to wash it all down with a mouthful of cola.

* * *

Groot shovels an overloaded fork of…something into his mouth, chewing away like his mind is in a fog. He does this a couple more times, just as Agent Coulson shifts gears to mention the new laws that have been brought to the forefront of late.

He doesn't react. Not right away. Gulp. Chew thoroughly. Cut into another piece before stabbing at it. Repeat. His eyes never leave the plate or its contents as Rocket replies, basically speaking for both of them at this point.

But does he really not care? It's possibly a front to give him time to mull over everything that's been happening. He won't readily admit that. Not now. There's a delay in his steady rhythm, however, the fork left hovering before entering his wooden maw again.

* * *

In some ways, body language is way easier for Coulson to read than Groot's normal proclimations. He nods thoughtfully and turns his attention to the spokesman, and says, "Unfortunately, burying your head in the sand isn't an option. You two are a bit more conspicuous than most."

He sighs and says, "I am not a fan of this law, but…"

But being dead really puts a damper on advocacy and activism. Steering clear of that, he says, "I guess the question is whether you want to stay in New York City, or whether you prefer to get clear of Registration."

* * *

No, ignoring it isn't an option and Rocket's well aware of it. He snorts, breaking a crusty bread bun in half between his clawed hands, dropping one back onto the table so he can slather a generous portion of butter on the other. "Ya don't say," he says neutrally as Coulson speaks the obvious. He and Groot aren't exactly that easy to blend in even with clothes on. People will be looking extra closely now, what with the new stupid law.

"I didn't think you'd be a fan of it. Glad to hear it outta yer mouth anyway." He crunches into the bread, sending crusty shrapnel dusting his plate and the tablecloth in front of him. "Personally? I'll admit, Terra's grown on me for the duration we've been stuck here." Even saying they were 'stuck' there was applied very loosely.

"But if they're enforcin' some stupid registry law, that just gives the wrong kinda vibes all over. I mean, I ain't got nothin' to hide and people look at us funny all the time either way, but I don't need an extra glarkin' leash on me for appearances' sake."

* * *

A grunt is about all Groot offers as he holds up a small cob of corn. His brow furrows, but he glances over at Coulson to echo the sentiment Rocket says so openly, gnoshing away on the little rows until it's all gone. He lets it drop back into the other plate as he picks at the other sides, shaking his head as a grumbled "I am Groot" is said with a less-than-savory tone that offsets his usual moodiness.

* * *

It is obvious, but registration is such an awkward subject that Coulson honestly has no idea how else to address it. It's one of those things that's hard to start talking about and hard to finish talking about. And so those sorts of lame statements are what's left.

Still, he murmurs, "Look, guys, once I'm back at work…I will be able to pull some strings. I could arrange for all you Guardians, and the Milano, to get moved and based out of Gotham, or even Metropolis. Get you guys a place to park that ship and let you get about your business. Help you get set up in a way that proves you're domiciled elsewhere if you have to come into New York, or even if you want to."

* * *

Rocket eyes Coulson, perhaps even pitying him to some degree. This is such a great thing to be hit upside the head with when just getting back into the office. He knows S.H.I.E.L.D.'s got its fair share of not-so-normal humans in its own employ but has also figured that the place has always danced along the lines of laws in general. So how were they dealing with this?

For now, the raccoonoid doesn't wonder too much. That's their own problem. He'll deal with their end of things, but if they've got problems with the aliens being housed in their hangar, then…

"Wait, what?"

Rocket blinks at Coulson as the words sink in. "…that…actually sounds sensible." The stinkin' law only applied to New York residents and operatives, right? So if they weren't officially affiliated and based outside of the city… Yeah. Although Rocket's never considered himself affiliated with anything outright, and he's sure even their S.H.I.E.L.D. allegiance is in part with their agreement to use the hangar space. He'll admit that he didn't mind working with them outright.

"Heck, with that doohickey we got from your neighbor's house we can even just park just outta atmosphere too, although that'd make pizza runs and delivery difficult."

* * *

Spaghetti noodles dangle from Groot's mouth as he stares straight ahead at nothing, chewing methodically under the spiel the agent sets up for them to hear. It's like something they've heard before, the same old 'try to cushion the blow' technique until it unfolds into a different path. Different options.

A loophole, so to speak.

It's here one side of brow quirks, his gaze falling back onto Coulson as he goes through listing what's available. What Rocket adds on is also true: New York is the only place stating the laws loud and clear for everybody living within its vicinity. If they get out of there, then it means the Guardians can still do what they want — even if they are still kind of tethered to S.H.I.E.L.D. for some of the jobs they get their hands on.

Leaning back, the tree wipes his mouth off with a napkin, pressing it against his face as he thinks about it. He has to admit he's gotten comfortable with the hangar bay. He's gotten used to the agents he's interacted with. Still, he's been used to changes throughout his career and regrowth. But he nods, since pizza is still an important food item he needs in his life.

* * *

"It's true, Terra hasn't invented a space pizza drone yet. Really, I'm not sure why we haven't gotten on that by now."

Is Coulson serious? It's so hard to tell when he deadpans sometimes. And sometimes he finds humor in weird places. On the other hand given there have been serious invasions from space he's not sure why a whole host of things haven't happened yet.

"I know you'll probably have to talk to Quill about it too," he says. "But I also know all of you were in Gotham before. Securing a hangar bay isn't really that big of a challenge."

Coulson looks out for his people. Always has, always will. His people, his friends, his family. They're all one. And no matter how many other changes have been wrought by his unlikely resurrection, that much remains a constant.

* * *

"Oh yeah," Rocket says, as though just reminded of Peter Quill's existence by Coulson's mentioning. "I'm sure he won't disagree to that proposal though. Get the hell outta New York. Gotham's downright dreary in comparison but yeah, we used to hang out there so we ain't completely unfamiliar to the turf. And there's probably tons of places to hide a ship."

He grins a bit as he looks at the agent, wiping off crumbs from his face with the back of a hand. "Back to that pizza drone idea I guess if we were desperate we could throw somethin' together but what's the fun in a business like that!"

* * *

Groot nods, stuffing his face with a huge piece of garlic bread. "I amf Grootph." Whether it's about the potentiality of a pizza drone coming into existence or about a new hideout is left up to Coulson and Rocket. Because both sound great to his non-existent ears. Whatever they choose to do, he'll probably go along with it because he doesn't have much of a choice in the matter.

He may also need some more food, judging by how he eyes one freshly emptied plate.

* * *

Coulson chuckles and tells Groot, "It's all you can eat. You can literally go back as many times as you want."

They won't love it if he goes back 15 times, but tough. Coulson's in no mood to quibble. He'll pay for a few more guests if he has to.

To Rocket he grants a flicker of a weary smile. "Given all the abandoned warehouses that litter that place? The real challenge isn't finding a parking spot to buy, it's finding one for sale that isn't infested by killer clowns. But alright. Tomorrow I'll make it a priority. In the meantime…if anyone stops you and gives you trouble, remind them of the March 1st deadline. If you're taken into custody—" Because Coulson doesn't doubt some law enforcement is going to get ridiculous and overzealous, "say nothing, make sure I get a call."

* * *

Plunging his spoon into some jello thing that's been liberally nestled beside something stir-fried by the looks of things, Rocket scrapes together a mound that's due for going into his mouth next. "Eh, true enough. But pest problems are minor so long as we find a nice place. Maybe Zee'll let us park in her yard." He laughs, but he might not be kidding.

He slurps up the jello and a stray bit of some vegetable or two, scowling a bit at the implications of them ever being picked up and taken into custody. Well, with the way things are going, he supposes the chances are a bit higher. "Say nothing…" he snorts, almost laughing, but he swallows his food and nods. "Right, right. We'll try'ta save you an' ourselves the extra trouble."

* * *

Oh you bet he'll go back 15 times. His appetite knows no bounds.

Groot does seem to light up when Coulson says this, but he plays it cool. "I am Groot," he mumbles, pushing back the chair so that he can go and get more for himself.

He does catch some of what the agent says to the raccoonoid alien before it fades into the lull of conversations filling up the space, squaring his shoulders with a huff. Like hell he'll let people push him around for being an alien.

* * *

"Or just let Groot do the talking," Coulson deadpans, and this time it's very clear he's making a joke. "A bit harder to use I am Groot against you in a court of law. Not that they'd have a leg to stand on to begin with."

The mention of Zee lifts his eyebrows: weird connections are everywhere. His lips quirk at a funny memory about the young sorceress, and he says, "If she will, that would be most convenient."

Because he won't have an open laugh at her expense, anyway.

Of course, he has absolutely no idea how he'll help out the Guardians and keep them on Earth if this whole registration thing spreads nationwide, but…one problem at a time, really.

* * *

"And while yer up can ya grab me another plate of those meatball things?" Rocket calls after Groot as the treenager slips off for another helping. He settles back with his drink again, and whether or not he's caught Coulson's suggestion as a jest it probably doesn't help that he decides to acknowledge it with a toothy smirk.

"Huh, You know Zee?" he asks as he catches that look. It wouldn't be a complete surprise to him; Zee had interesting enough connections as it was. "Couldn't hurt to ask though. Then again I dunno if she'd wanna put up with us long-term."

What Coulson is already offering to do for them is more than Rocket might've expected from anyone. He personally hadn't figured that they would invest too much into sticking around if Terrans were going to give everyone a hard time with their paranoia. Sure, they could still cut and run but it'd leave a bad taste in his mouth now with Coulson putting an effort into helping them get around things.

* * *

"I am Groot!"

That's the last they hear from Groot for a time, especially since it's a reply thrown back Rocket's way. Afterward, he's back at the buffet, shuffling two trays along the bars. The plates in turn are pile high with miscellaneous foodstuffs, including the meatball things as requested.

The trays are then set down with a thunk once Groot leans over the raccoonoid. "I am Groot," he grouses before sitting again.

* * *

"We've been on a few missions together," Coulson admits, of Zee. But of course, he has little more to say or add on that subject. His mouth quirks again when Rocket says something about her putting up with them, and he says, "I dunno. You guys aren't too hard to put up with."

Poor Groot, forced to meatball duty! Coulson says, "They have an ice cream bar too," just off-handedly. He waves in its general direction. "Can't miss that."

He bets, like most teens, Groot is not yet too old for ice cream, after all.

* * *

The commotion that happens somewhere beyond the buffet is something almost unmistakable for those who are aware of the Girl of Thunder, and though there is a bit of angry shouting as a goat saunters towards the buffet with Atli on it's back, she does not seem to mind.

Toothbender stops and of course decides to shove his entire face into the mac and cheese, slorping it into his gullet with sounds that cause Atli to wince.

"Woe and greetings Fair Rocket, Wise Groot, and the Brave Son of Coul, I am glad I was able to track you to this house of bounty, for verily, I have dire need of your aid."

Atli finally dismounts and then steps forward, but something is missing. She seems half an inch shorter at least, and her normally bright expression turns to a scowl. "I have lost my boots. Well, boot. It is a long story, but I require new footware, and all of midgard seems to lack the skill of shoe-masonry."

Indeed, her feet are bare, and quite dirty from walking around New York.

"I have a plan. A plan to fix everything."

* * *

"They are not dumb- you were eatin' 'em too," Rocket huffs, picking up his plate from the tray that Groot's procured. His brows lift at the mention of ice cream. "Ooh! Definitely gonna hit that up." Because who says you can't eat ice cream when it's practically winter?

He looks about to say something smart in agreement in response to Coulson's other remark when things suddenly become very loud by the buffet area. Turning as he pops a meatball into his mouth, Rocket glances over and stares, then rubs his eyes. Welp. Guess he's not hallucinating after all. Hallucinations don't so vividly greet you unless you've had a lot to drink, and all he's been drinking here is soda.

"Atli, hey! I…am not even gonna ask how you managed to find us," he murmurs, eyeing Toothbender before his gaze drifts down towards the Asgardian's feet. His face scrunches up in something of disgust. New York streets ain't exactly something you can eat off of.

"How— " "I have a plan. A plan to fix everything." " —about we just hit up a shoe store? After we douse your feet in ten gallons of alcohol?"

* * *

Oh, now he's just playing dirty. Moments after he's finished mimicking Rocket's retort, there's a look shot in Coulson's direction, squinting at the man with a withering teenage glower. "…I am Groot." Surly as he sounds, he keeps a mental note to get some later. Because WHY NOT.

Of course that all takes a backseat when Atli and Toothbender are suddenly there. Groot seems to pay more attention to the goat eating a portion of his weight's worth in mac n' cheese, making a face while snorting a laugh and staying interested in the reactions it causes.

* * *

It's safe to say Phil Coulson notices several things about Atli's arrival.

Number one. Atli's arrival, which is impossible to miss. Number two: goat, with his face in macaroni and cheese. Number three, her utter lack of surprise at finding him alive and diving into some fairly dubious food. Number four, her lack of shoes, and number five, her catchphrase, which may or may not have anything to do with the shoes.

He looks up at her face and down at her feet. His own face reflects the pained Dad look. It is back. Full force. Not aimed at the Guardians this time, but at one Asgardian. That pained Dad smile. That pained Dad tightness around the eyes.

Verily, it might well represent Phil Coulson's true resurrection…

"I think Rocket's pretty much hit that solution hard on the nose, Atli. The only reason you're even allive right now after doing that in this city is your Asgardian physiology."

He squints. There's another registration conversation he's going to have to have.

* * *

"Ah, the good women of Kappa Delta Phi have already taken care of making sure I have had plenty of good spirits poured over my feet. It was a merry revel. But then of course, that was before I lost my boot. And with one gone, well, it was quite difficult and odd to walk about, so I left the other behind. But I feel - Groot, manners! - verily, I turn my back to slay one troll and you have grown bigger than the goat and fowler than my grandfather breaking wind. Where was I. AH, yes, the quest!"

Atli immediately grabs an errant roll dislodged by the goat, eyeballing it as she moves to join Coulson. "No no, I have been to these places, and they are filled with nothing that can serve as a proper replacement." Of course, Coulson comments on her hardiness, and she is back to beaming that great big smile she's used to. "Well, I am mighty. As are you." Her brow scrunches, and she squints a little, reaching over to give Coulson a firm squeeze on his shoulder. "Back from the halls of Vahalla already I see. I knew that the women there would soon complain of your vigor and ask you to leave before exhaustion consumed all of afterlife's creation." All said through her smile, and then she leans back again.

"No no, you see, the plan is simple. We will find an expert on footware and request an audience. And I have found just the one. I have even taken the time to ask a rather nervous fellow at SHIELD to help me in this regard. Agent Adsit has been a delight, and provided me with everything I need for this heroic journey to once again cover my toes. Prepare yourselves my friends, eat well and drink hearty. For soon, we go to meet her."

There is a pause as she scarfs down the roll, nodding slowly as she savors it's oh so processed flavor.

"Soon, we go to see Emma Frost."

* * *

Rocket opens his mouth, decides that whatever he might have to say will be railroaded and so fills it instead with another couple of meatballs. Well, this oughta be good.

He glances at Coulson, having no idea why of all places Atli would decide that someone from S.H.I.E.L.D. would be best at assisting her in finding shoes, but he's come to expect that anything the Asgardian woman contrives to do is going to be over the top and in the most round-about manner possible. As though to quietly emphasize that point to himself, he grabs the other half of his bread roll and slathers it with an unhealthy layer of butter.

"Great. Sure. Whatever," he mumbles, chomping into the roll. He might've even found the name familiar but no one had thought to introduce them when they all carpooled from Coulson's funeral.

* * *

Groot's brow lifts when Atli briefly addresses him, glancing back over his shoulder to catch something about his manners. It doesn't stick for long, though, because he looks back at the goat. Another snort-laugh escapes him before he turns around to face the table, shaking his head as Atli chatters on.

He really isn't paying attention to what the Asgardian's new quest is, but he nods, pretending he's heard most of it. See? He's even making himself a sandwich of cornbread and meatballs.

The name should also sound familiar to him as well, but…it isn't. He does have to look up and give a crooked smirk as his adolescent voice strangles an attempt at a laugh. "I am Groot?"

* * *

"…" This is Phil's moment of pause while Atli spins her theory on his return. He makes a 'huh' face. The face of a man who is okay with this theory. Who is definitely not going to deny it in favor of the far messier truth. Yes. That's precisely what happened.

But then she continues to speak.

Phil Coulson mutters, "Remind me to fire Asdit."

And then he looks up at Atli. "Yeah. What Groot said. You…want to ask Emma Frost for…fashion advice? I…I…"

He doesn't have the will to stop this tide. Not today. He knows it. The Guardians know it. Atli sure knows it. Now all he has to figure out how to do is diplomatically handle the horrors to come.

He does indeed give that waitress an extra big tip on the $700 bill he is presented with. Between the tree and the goat, they decided he had a lot more than 4 people at this table. He's good with it. That's what Visa's for. It's everywhere you…

Well, it's everywhere, anyway.

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