The Best of House Guests

December 06, 2016:

Jessica Jones returns from working one job and into undertaking another after a surprise meeting with one of Zatanna's other house guests.

Shadowcrest Manor - Crest Hill - Bristol - Gotham

In a manor everything is spacious. Especially the kitchen.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna Zatara, Peter Quill, Groot

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Somehow, Jessica Jones missed a lot of chaos at the manor.

Actually, it's not that mysterious. She was out doing surveillance, but she has to come back eventually. She comes back with a couple of shopping bags and a cup of coffee clutched blearily in a gloved hand. She drops the bag by the door, just kind of intending to get it later, then drops her coat on the back of the couch. Then she wanders towards the kitchen, looking for food.

You know. Just a normal morning.

—-

It's all right, Jessica. With Zatanna's latest lodgers, it's like as she'll have plenty of opportunity for chaos. If that's what she really wants, anyway.

At the moment it's deceptively quiet. Perfectly normal, really. And that busy ringed tail is perfectly normal too, sticking out of the fridge that's been swung open and apparently seems to be subject to critter infestation.

—-

Jessica Jones stands in the kitchen and blinks. Then she just…walks backward. Out of the kitchen. Rubs her eyes. Then walks back in. Nope. It's still there. Well, it's a weird magical manor. "What the hell are you?" she asks…even as she sees some juice she wants and just reaches right over the head of the furry critter thing to get it.

But she's not really sure she's seeing what she's seeing, so she tries to just…poke the top of the critter's head.

—-

He's well aware that he's no longer alone in the kitchen. And when said person sounds like she's left, he doesn't have a second thought about it. It's when the woman reenters that he pauses, but only after the question she poses and just as she moves to touch him that he spins around, pointing a banana at her like a bonafide gun.

Okay, so apparently it's not one of Zatanna's cute little menagerie beasties. For one, this raccoon still remains standing upright like a human, and another, he's wearing something that appears more like a padded, form-fitted armor than anything that might be in Zee's fancy closets. In his free hand he's got a sandwich piled nearly half as tall as himself.

"Oh, well it's nice to meet you too," he replies- yes, it speaks! -his tone dripping in sarcasm.

—-

Jessica stares blankly. She looks slowwwwwwwwwwly down at the banana. She looks up at Rocket again. "Oh. Help. Don't. Shoot." She says, with equal sarcasm. She stomps away from him and pours a glass of juice. Then she takes a long swig out of it, apparently adjusting to the walking, talking raccoon relatively quickly.

Maybe it was the banana?

It was probably the banana.

—-

"Reflex," Rocket snorts, spinning it over a finger with expert ease that suggests how comfortable he might actually be with a real firearm. Tucking the banana into a space just at the edge of his sandwich plate, he moves away from the fridge, kicking his foot back to shut the door before he wanders over to the nearest counter top to set his breakfast- or possibly brunch?- down so he can enjoy it.

—-

Jessica pours more juice, finally sitting down at the counter top across from him. She eyes him for this long, silent moment. "Zatanna," she says at length, "did not warn me about talking raccoons. I feel like that's the sort of thing that ought to go on the memo. Please don't throw your towels on the floor. Please be aware there's a raccoon gunslinger who may periodically raid the fridge."

—-

Scowling at her over his sandwich, which he can only do because he's standing on the stool he's pulled up, Rocket rests a hand on the top of his food-tower masterpiece, giving it a slight push to see if he can compact it a bit. Not that it helps.

"One, I'm not a raccoon. Two, she's the one that brought me over and she's letting me and Quill stay a while. Although she did mention- oh!" He snap-points at her. "You must be Jessica!"

—-

"Yep. I'm Jessica. And you are?" Jessica watches the leaning tower of sandwich and the not-raccoon with a somewhat flat look. Concerned cynicism is a hard expression to pull off, but…she manages it. And then she allows a small, hard smirk, as if she can't resist the question that's about to spill from her lips. "And…If you're a not-raccoon traveling with someone named Quill…is he a not-porcupine?"

—-

The raccoon that claims not to be leans on the top of his sandwich in a show of pushing it down, but he knows there's no way he's going to fit this all in his mouth at once no matter how much he tries to flatten it. Oh well. By layers it is. "Name's Rocket," he says with a smooth smile that might be disturbingly flirtatious.

"Hah! That's a good one. But Quill was born here. One'a you guys, humans, that is. Or at least mostly. Something. I dunno." He shrugs, shaking his head before carefully picking up the first four inches of sandwich off the top of the pile.

—-

At least she refrained from making the 'you're going to need a bigger mouth' joke. But…laughing at someone's joke is kind of a universal way to get them to take the jerk level down a few notches, and it even works on the irascible Jessica Jones. So instead of continuing with sarcasm ping pong, she asks, "Why do you two need a place to stay? Has she hired you as well?"

It doesn't cure her of asking questions. Asking questions is kind of her thing. Arguably even more than sarcasm ping pong.

—-

"Zee offered. I think it's to smooth over any misunderstandings regarding accidental kidnappings." That's all Rocket offers on that subject, and as though to accentuate that period at the end of it, he takes a huge bite of that mini sandwich, which isn't much of a mini sandwich but only in comparison with the rest of it that it started from.

"Me an' Quill are kinda here indefinitely. I gotta find a pal of mine too, before he gets into trouble." Okay, so technically Zatanna had said they could only stay a couple of nights but really, who's counting??

—-

"I'm good at finding people. I might need a second case. I could potentially help," says Jessica, though her eyebrows lift. Zee…has a huge knack for trouble. Still, she figures it will be easier to get the story from the mystic than from Rocket, so she lets it go for now and focuses on the other thing. "Who is missing and where was he or she or…"

Nope. Do not say 'it'.

"Where was this individual last seen? God knows surveillance at the auction house is turning up precisely jack and shit anyway." Speaking of jack…this orange juice isn't nearly potent enough. She pours half a glass, rummages around until she finds anything alcoholic, and pours said alcoholic thing into the juice. This turns out to be a beer from the fridge, since she does not feel like exploring the liquor cabinet. One would think this would render the concoction too god awful nasty to drink, but apparently not. She guzzles it with every evidence of contentment. One might also think she wouldn't behave this way while trying to sell her services, but evidently this does not occur to her.

—-

Rocket just watches her, scratching his chin in thought as he chews. He takes another bite after swallowing the first, not bothering to finish before talking, because what are manners?

"Mah pow Gwoof," he says around his mouthful, but at least he realizes that doesn't sound like anything sensible, so once he gulps that down, he tries again. "Groot. Pal'a mine. Quill said he left him at a park. The idiot said he'd be fine there, but I know better. Groot gets distracted real easy."

He tries not to make a face as he looks at the random things that Jessica pours herself, because that looks like a terrible cocktail. Shaking his head, he tears into his sandwich again.

—-

"Is he autistic? Elderly? Is Groot some sort of nickname for like, Grandpa Coot or something?" Jessica asks, frowning. She finishes off her terrible cocktail and apparently decides it's time to eat. She grabs a banana. She mimes firing it at him, then peels it and breaks some of it off, popping it into her mouth, no more disturbed by his manners than he is by hers. "You got a picture?"

—-

Those questions are the funniest things he's heard in a while, which is why he laughs, sandwich and spittle flying. "What, no! Groot's his real name, and he won't let you forget it. It's kinda all he says. His wording is limited to three, which consists of I and Am, and Groot, in that order exactly."

Rocket grins as she fires an imaginary banana bullet his way. He licks off his fingers, his first bit of sandwich done, and he looks around the kitchen, hopping down from the stool to paw through drawers and cabinets. "Normally I would, but all my stuff's locked up in Quill's dumb ship," he mutters. "-oh come on, do magicky people not use pens or something? Oh, this'll work."

He comes back with a marker and begins to scrawl out a rough outline of….a tree? on the floor tiles.

—-

Jessica Jones rubs at her eyes for a moment. Perhaps she's just…taking all of this in. Adjusting paradigms. "But let me guess. He's not /really/ a tree. He just /looks/ like a tree. Of course. Because that makes perfect sense."

She sighs. Wasn't she just bragging a few days ago that nothing surprised her anymore? That weirdness and whackadoo were all part of the job? Zee did this just to test her, didn't she? Fine. She'll bite.

"So, essentially," she says, very slowly. "You're telling me your friend Quill left your friend the plant person in the park where he is surrounded by plants, and the only method he has for asking for directions is to say, over and over again, 'I am Groot, I am Groot, I am Groot?' In a town where people are going to dismiss him as some sort of performer or costumed freak? Well, this should make it easy. He's either still in the park where your friend left him, or he's been escorted to jail where jaded cops are even now trying to convince him to take off the mask. I'll make a few calls."

—-

He'll just wait for Jessica to absorb it all, and once she proves not to just break down, Rocket even applauds. She's taking this so well! He's liking her more and more!

"Exactly. Although maybe not so easy- since he's not stupid. Not totally. But he might be overeager about some things and might not quite get that walking-talking tree people on Earth are not a normal happening." Like talking raccoons are.

"…so yeah. I guess it's possible he /could/ land in jail, but from what I've seen so far around here, I doubt it'd hold him. And if he's in the park, then maaaaybe he's remembered he should be lying low."

He can only hope. Capping the marker and tossing it aside, Rocket leaps back up on the stool to grab another chunk of sandwich.

—-

"Does he eat food? Like, is he likely to try to pluck something from a hot dog stand or anything like that? If he's still in the park, well, we might just be able to follow the string of odd rumors and occurrences too. Too bad walking plants /aren't/ normal. We could just walk around with that charming rendering and say 'have you seen this Groot? He answers to Groot." Jessica blows out her cheeks and says, "Well, let me go and get a shower. If Quill can show us where he dropped him off, that will be a starting point." Sleep? What's sleep? Sleep is for the weak.

She doesn't even address payment at this point. It sounds petty, like charging someone for their lost puppy, or child. "Maybe he found the Lord of the Rings people and has joined them as an Ent reenactor," she mutters, dropping the banana peel in the trash. "Some 400 pound Gandalf could be riding him like a pony as we speak."

—-

"Oh yeah, he eats. And he likes those fruity little mixed drinks when we're at the bar." Rocket waves a hand idly at that, because to him, this is normal. It's not his fault that Earth is so backwater about people from other planets!

And of course that reference goes right over his fuzzy head. He doesn't even address Jessica's mutterings, consuming the rest of his sandwich contentedly.

—-

Jessica Jones winces, though whether it's at the idea that a talking tree is trying to get a drink from someone in Gotham or at the idea that he drinks that fruity bullshit is uncertain. It may be a toss up. 50-50. They're both equally concerning, really. In the grand scheme of things.

"Great," is all she says out loud. "I should be done before you're done eating," she promises. If only because she has a sneaking suspicion he might just make himself a second sandwich anyway, of an equal size with the first one. She can't be sure. But she trusts her instincts on this matter.

Of course, she still has to wrap her head around all this, so this time she does wander to the liquor cabinet. Oh yeah. Expensive tequila. She's going to take that into the shower and nurse it while she gets clean. She salutes Rocket with it, then starts making her way towards one of the fantastically enormous bathrooms.

—-

Rocket grants her a salute right back. "Eh, take yer time," he says, because now he knows where Zee stashes her liquor. What's that, a drink or several on the house? Why don't mind if I do, Miss Zee!

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