Team Building 1

April 08, 2015:

J'onn approaches Ms. Marvel to begin forming a new team of heroes.

Jersey City, Ms. Marvel's Apartment Complex

Characters

NPCs: Kamala's Mother

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's a decent afternoon in April — at least, it's not raining and it's not sleeting, and though the snow hasn't all melted yet, there are a few small signs that spring is coming. There's tiny hints of green. There's peeks of sunlight through the clouds. And atop one of the buildings here, one of the newest superheroes in town — the guardian of Jersey City, the fabulous Ms. Marvel — is relaxing in a lawn chair in a rooftop garden.
She's not dressed in her costume, at least not visibly, but her long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans cover everything but a very faint hint of red at her neckline. She's relaxed, legs stretched out, ankles crossed, enjoying the almost-good weather and listening to a pair of earbuds that lead to her phone. There's a recorded lecture chattering away in her ears as she reclines and watches the clouds.

The Manhunter from Mars has been watching several young heroes as the world has seemed to descend into chaos. Ms. Marvel- Kamala Kahn- was one of those he needed to approach. The Flash was on board, an important first step. Now, to begin team-building.

However, The Manhunter realizes that Ms. Marvel's secret identity is important to her living a healthy life. He phases through the ground not far from the young heroine. "Ms. Marvel." J'onn begins, as he alights on the ground, "I must ask you a question- an important question."

The immediate response to this, at least, is a squawk of surprise and falling off the deck chair. Ms. Marvel is possibly not the most graceful or trained or anything like that of heroes, but she recovers moderately quickly. It takes a bit of pulling out her earphones and scrambling to her feet, dusting herself off and clearing her throat as if to hopefully signal to the Manhunter that he should forget that part when considering her for potential superhero membership.
"I'm listening," she says, and adds: "I've seen you before. There was an incident in the city, wasn't there?"

"Yes. You were there, acting with a nobility of spirit rare in young people." J'onn begins. "I saw as you changed the shape of your body- an ability you and I share." he continues, "However, you are inexperienced in the use of your abilities- both genetic and mental. This means you will require training, and support. I would like to extend an idea to you, Ms. Marvel: Joining a newly forming team of heroes, like yourself. There are great things ahead of us, Ms. Marvel. Great, and terrible things. I fear that the events you have seen so far are guiding this planet towards greater dangers than any one of us could ever hope to face alone. I see a need for a team that exists independent of Government desire- an alley to all that is right, and enemy to all that is unjust. Those of this team must display a nobility of spirit. An intangible Light that will brighten this world in her darkest hours. I believe that you have such a light, Kamala. And I ask that you would join me in this." It sounded nice- the truth is that J'onn isn't sure what's coming next, not really. He sees so many young heroes now and worries their path might turn dark without the support of others like themselves. And, of course, that Light. The Light of hope. The desire to help others and be a hero…. To really help those around them- that necessary thing that he was certain was in Kamala Kahn, just as he is certain it is in Barry Allen who he approached previous to Ms. Marvel.

There's something lovely about that light of hope and life and such in youth — it also often comes with naivete, and Kamala Khan has that in spades. Then again, that might just be unsinkable optimism. They can be mistaken for one another even in a good light.

She stares up at the Martian as he speaks, and she's visibly awed by his words. She's a small young woman, but she feels about ten feet tall by the time he's done.

Extending one hand, she nods once: "Then I'd — then I'd be honored. I hope I can live up to that expectation, and I believe I can help you as much as you can help me. I'm. I'm truly honored and humbled. Can I ask — what do I call you? And what do I need to do?"

"So far, the Team consists of you, myself and The Flash." J'onn begins. "You may call me J'onn. J'onn J'onzz." He takes the young woman's hand and gives it a firm shake. "We require a way to contact each-other. For now, I will open a psychic link between the three of us. It will not allow any of us to read the mind of the other, but if any of us needs assistance it will allow us to call for assistance at the speed of thought. That is, as long as I have your permission to set up this link." he remarks as he takes a half step back. "With you, in particular, I would like to set up sessions to train you in the use of your abilities. I feel that I may be of help to you in learning just how far you can push yourself."

Kamala proudly shakes J'onn's hand, but she blinks in astonishment — and a little nervousness — at the idea of the mental link. "I. Well. Sure, if we're all connected and we can't all actually read each other's minds — you can read people's minds?" That's a thought for later, quite possibly.

At the thought of having help in shapeshifting, too, she looks both relieved and astonished. "You can? You will? That would be amazing! I've kind of been wondering, and I didn't want to go out searching for people and asking for a teacher. It seemed a little presumptuous."

"I will act as the switchboard, and I promise not to go deep- only to act as a communication relay for the team- until such time a less invasive form of communication can be found. And yes. I am telepathic." So he can shape change, and he's a telepath. Swiss-army knife super-hero. "I would be only too glad to assist you in learning more about your abilities, and how to use them. All of my people are shapeshifters, it is something we learn how to do from a young age. Although I would not presume that you are the same, I am certain some of the techniques will be of use to you. I would be only too happy to help, however I can. I am here to answer any question I am able, Ms. Marvel." he offers simply, "Whenever you wish to ask."

"If you don't mind my asking — though maybe we should save it for another time — where are you from, J'onn? Your people are all shape-changers? Are they also all telepaths?" Kamala flashes a quick smile: "I don't mean to interrogate you. You probably have all kinds of places to go. Things to do."

"I am a Martian, I am from Mars." J'onn replies plainly. "My people are long dead, I am the only remaining member of the Green-Skinned Martian species that I am aware of." He states it as simple fact, with little emotion. "All Martians are shape changes, and all of them are Telepathic." he continues to explain, "I have time, Ms. Marvel. I would not have offered to answer your questions if I was not prepared to do so."

"I am… I'm sorry," she says, and she clearly means it. "I can't imagine what that's like. My family, they're really important to me. My friends. I can't imagine being on a world where no one's like me, no one thinks like me, and I'll never find anyone who will. I — wow. I need to not harp on that. But that has to be terrible."
Gesturing to the lawn chairs — there are a few, and a small table — she adds: "If you'd like to stay I could get you… something to eat, something to drink? I'd bring you inside but my mother would have questions. Lots and lots of questions and I'm not quite ready to answer them yet."

"I appreciate that." J'onn begins, "Perhaps one day I we will all be close enough that I might share my past with you, as I would with my closet friends and family. However, I have found much in common with the people of this world. There are many who love what I love. There are many who desire what I desire. There are people like you, Ms. Marvel." J'onn states, "Who are willing to accept those who are different, because they know what it means to be different to be misunderstood. Should you wish to invite me inside, it is a simple thing to make this easy." he says, as his form changes and shifts so effortlessly. J'onn's body shrinks down to a height close to Kamala's, shrinking as he takes the form of a girl around Kamala's age. No need to stand out, after all. Even his voice has changed, sounding perfect to the form he's taken. "I appreciate your hospitality, Kamala, it is heartwarming."

Oh. Duh! Of course. Right. Shapeshifter. And he's good at it, too. Kamala whistles low, but she's grinning a second later. "Fantastic," she says. "So — right, Kamala Khan. You can be. Um." Her mind races through names, but the only one she can think of is one of those she'd wished she had: "Fatima. You can be Fatima, and we're working on out autobiography projects together. Come on."

She extends her hand to take J'onn's, ushering him down the stairs from the rooftop garden down into the building proper. It's a bit of heading down stairs and through hallways to get to her apartment, and when they do reach it and she opens the door for them, the scent of tea and good home cooking wafts through.

"Hi, Mom!" Kamala calls, adding: "I brought home a friend from school!" She doesn't like lying much, but it's more or less necessary to prevent Mom from freaking.

J'onn smiles, as he takes Kamala's hand and follows behind her through the apartment building. This is not something within his regular realm of experience, visiting a family as a young woman. Still, such experiences, he treasures. A chance to get to know humanity better, from within. "Hello Mrs. Kahn, I'm Fatima Hussein, its a pleasure to meet you." he (Or She) offers to Kamala's mother, "You have a lovely home, thank you for allowing me to visit." Quite polite, Kamala's new friend. Always good to ensure a Mother thinks her daughter is hanging around with the right crowd.

Kamala's mother — short, even shorter than Kamala herself — steps out, hastily removing an apron and setting it over a chair. 'Fatima's' greeting is received with apparent pleasure, and Mrs. Khan beams at her.

"Well! If I'd known Kamala was bringing friends home, I would have tidied up a bit." The house is clearly spotless, but this is what mothers naturally say.

Kamala breaks away from Fatima long enough to step quickly over to her mother and give her a peck on the cheek. "I'll make us a couple cups of tea and we'll go to my room," she begins.

But her mother cuts her off quickly: "Don't even think of it. You study, you get to work. I'll bring you some snacks. Brain food."

"You're the best," Kamala replies. She gives her mother a one-armed hug and then rejoins J'onn, guiding him — her? — toward her bedroom.

"Oh, thank you!" 'Fatima' offers with a bow of her head- even as she's guided off by Kamala towards the privacy of the other hero's room to 'study'. "What a lovely woman." s/he offers quietly to Kamala as they approach that room. "I so rarely get a chance to enjoy such hospitality, thank you, truly." he says next once they enter the room. "But, perhaps you have more questions. I will let you know once she is approaching." he taps the side of his head, "Don't worry, not reading her mind… X-ray vision." Fatima/J'onn winks with a rakish grin.

Something about the expression on 'Fatima's' face is so very much J'onn, and it actually makes Kamala suppress a giggle. She opens the door to her room, closing it behind them when they both get inside. It's a bit untidy, though that may be more of a function of how much stuff is in here. Rooms are small around here.

"I guess you don't get to go around and be someone's nice friend from school so often," she admits. Grabbing her coat from her chair, she offers this to J'onn and sits crosslegged on the edge of her bed.

"Unfortunately, no." J'onn replies simply as he takes a seat on the chair. "It would be a simpler world if I was able to live such an idyllic life. I would be glad for it, as well." he admits, as he sits back and looks about Kamala's room with quiet interest that lacks any judgment. "Its a lovely house, very warm. I imagine it has a lot to do with that light inside you, my friend."

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