This Manor was Brought to You By the Letter W

December 19, 2016:

Rocket and Groot take a wrong turn trying to explore Gotham and end up at someone else's manor instead. Good thing they brought duct tape.

Wayne Manor - Gotham

All these big sprawling, secluded rich people spaces look the same in the dark.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna Zatara


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

"…you know, I'm pretty sure this ain't the way to the city."

They'd been wandering along the road for, what was it, hours now? "I /knew/ we shoulda just ordered pizza from Zee's! Then /they'd/ have to come find us- but /no/, SOMEONE wanted to go see the sights!" Rocket huffs, tossing his arms up- before he quickly made a grab for a handhold again as he rode his companion's shoulder.

"Oh look! What's that over there?! Another hill! Oh look over there- trees. I /told/ you we should've gone the other way but noooo, what did you say?"


"I am Groot," Groot replies to Rocket's prompting with a slight shake of his wooden head. Acting as a vehicle for his friend is no of inconvenience to him, and because he's been hanging around the raccoon forever, listening to his rants isn't much of one either.

But it /is/ true: it's completely Groot's fault for wanting to head out of their hostess' lofty, magical crash pad. "I am Groot," he adds in gruff defense of his decision, knowing that there's still so much to see in a city as large as this one. Sure, he can stretch his legs fine around Zatanna's, but some fresh air wouldn't kill them once in a while.


"E-/xactly/," his fuzzy companion says, casually readjusting his grip as Groot moves along. "But since when do you even know how to read maps anyway? Flak, what I wouldn't give for a decent navcomp."

The raccoon who claims not to be such continues to grumble under his breath, pausing only to consider his tree-friend's addendum with a snort. "Shyeah, tell me that once we've actually /seen/ the c- oh, he/llo/, did we just walk in a giant circle or what? I'm going to be upset if we ended up just walkin' for hours in a giant circle."

He's pointing at the dark silhouette of a manor in the near distance.


The tree loosely gestures with one hand, brushing the comment off with a 'bah'-like sound. A deep rumble of one, anyway. Of /course/ he knows how to read a map. Everyone knows how to read a map.

(No, he doesn't know how to read a map. Not really. He /tries/, though. That has to count.)

Readying a counter comment that consists of the same three words the raccoon-like being can translate into a million other words, he pauses. A brief bout of confusion lurks within his black eyes as he lazily blinks, following the imaginary line leading from the clawed finger toward the manor. Now that Rocket mentions it, the place /does/ look familiar. He's sure he's seen it before. Recently.

"…I am Groot."

Try as he may, his answer sounds suspiciously vague.


"Urgh, well, at least we'll know which way /not/ to start with the next time- and I know there will be a next time-" Rocket says sharply, eyeing Groot before he gestures just as vaguely in the direction of the manor. "Come on. The sooner we get to a phone-thing the sooner we can order pizza and look for reruns of Gilmore Girls."


Simultaneously, Groot averts his gaze, shrinking a few centimeters as if it would help hide him from his best friend's glaring. (It doesn't.)

He nods, however, agreeing to do the thing that involves contacting a pizza place. Long, ent-like strides are taken toward the manor with purpose to placate his already-grouchy companion.


Just as well since Rocket takes a seated position on Groot's shoulder, shifting the pack he's had slung on his back so that he can lean grumpily against the walking tree. At Groot's pace it'll take them at least a half hour to get to the front gates, and his careful strides start to lull the raccoon to sleep.

He wakes up abruptly, only because he'd almost slipped from his perch. Blinking as he scrambles back into a standing position where he'd been napping previously, Rocket squints at the dark, looming place that they now near.

"Wait. Wait, wait, wait-" he says, waving a clawed hand. "This isn't… I don't think this is Zee's place."


"I am Groot?"

First thing he says after walking that particular stretch of road, cocking his head as he looks up at the manor again. He also squints.

"I am Groot."

Well. It does look a little different from where they're temporarily staying.


Rocket slaps his forehead. "That's what I just said!!" He swings his backpack around again, slipping his other arm into the strap as he tries to get a better look at the front gates. "…what, they got a whole alphabet row'a these things?! That's a 'W'! The place we're at has a 'Z!'"

Oh, why is he telling this to a tree?


Because the tree is the only one around who willingly listens to a talking raccoon-like creature. Besides, it livens up things.

The tree frowns a little, leaning in a bit to squint even harder at the letters the gates possessed. "I am Groot," he answers, knowing that it's not something Rocket wants to hear coming from him. "I am Groot?"



Groaning, he drags his hands down his face. "YES. Because Zee's last name starts with a 'Z'! There ain't no W's in there!" He hops down from Groot's shoulder then, stomping over to the large iron gates to stick his head between the bars, peering inside. "Yeesh, what is it with rich people and needing to make you go five hundred miles just to get to the front door? Well, forget asking if we can use a phone. We'll just have to go back that way. -but knowing you, you'll get us turned around somehow. We gotta mark this place off…"

Rocket brings around his backpack around to rummage through- all things he's NOT stolen from Zatanna's place, thank you very much. He bought most of this stuff. With money he made from selling the liquor he'd acquired from Zatanna's, because abusing hospitality isn't thievery.


A disheartened hum runs through Groot, his broad, gnarled shoulders drooping at the mistake he still isn't sure of. Terra's letters are just as bad as any other alien language he's seen; the lines repeat too many times for almost half of its alphabet.

He barely feels Rocket leave his perch, shifting his tree body to one side so that his fuzzy companion has enough room to work. Being prepared with the limited supplies Earth has to offer is always a good idea; it's very practical, selling previously-owned perishable items for currency. His friend is very smart.


Pff. Smart. He's a glarkgin' /genius/.

"Here," Rocket says, tossing something to the discouraged tree-man. It's a roll of duct tape. You never know when you'll need some duct tape.

"Just tear off a few strips an' stick 'em over the front of the bars-"


The roll of duct tape is easily caught, instantly dispelling the invisible little cloud of sadness forming around his head. Whatever Rocket is saying is also regrettably forgotten as well, Groot's attention now focused on peeling back a small portion of the tape and studying its stickiness.

Usually one knows what to do with duct tape without a second thought. But this is Groot. Instead, a long strip of tape is somehow partially stuck to his side, loosely looped and pinched together around his right arm. The part closest to the roll in his hands is held up to his mouth, sampled between a set of wooden teeth.


"-so that you can— /NO!/ YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO EAT THAT!"

Rocket turns just about then to see what the dumb tree is doing. Dropping his stuff, he walks back over to Groot, hopping up onto a knee and clambering up high enough so that he can snatch the roll from him. "Tape. On /bars/. Not mouth, BARS!" he points between both emphatically before he rams the roll back into Groot's hand.


The corners of Groot's mouth turn downward as he hurriedly lowers the tape away from his mouth. As Rocket snatches the roll away, the tree alien promptly shakes his head, pretending like he just wasn't trying to eat it moments earlier.

He grunts as the tape is thrust back into his hands, frowning for a few seconds before doing what he's supposed to do. It's not the neatest placement of strips, but it shows he understood his part of the task. "I am Groot."


After eyeing Groot to make sure he's got it down, Rocket nods and stoops down to resume sorting through the stuff in his backpack. "Good. Yes, a couple'a strips should do it- just something we can see from a far off if we accidentally end up heading this way. It's dark out here but this stuff reflects enough that it should stand out enough. And then- wow, I don't remember why I even have half this crap in here," he mutters, pulling out random odds and ends, tossing things over his shoulder that either bounce off the bars of the gate or go right through them; a roll of toilet paper, an empty soda bottle, pieces of tin foil.


Light praise goes a long way. Like sunlight, Groot perks, carefully crouching down to Rocket's height with the intention of returning the tape. Instead, he begins inspecting whatever Rocket throws around, gingerly picking up a piece of tin foil between two long fingers while he grabbed the roll of toilet paper with his free hand.

"I am Groot?" he asks, testing the weight of both items and accidentally crumpling the foil as he glances back toward his furry friend, curious of the remaining contents of the bag.


Rocket seems to be about done going through things, seeing that the rest of his inventory's in order, if sorely lacking in the technical department. He turns around to see how things are going with Groot, shoulders slumping as he sees the other looking his way instead. "Hey! You forgot already! Quit goofing around and hurry it up!" he shouts, flailing a bit. "And drop those!"


Caught again. Flinching, Groot unceremoniously drops the things as ordered, picking up the roll of duct tape among his scramble in turning his attention back toward the gates.

Well, he better make this look good or else they'll never be done here.

So he works as diligently as a tree can under such circumstances, pulling strips off and slapping them onto the bars…

…And across them…

…And maybe wrapping one really long piece around one gate, getting the hinge on its return trip to being half-woven in between the letter and another bar.

He stands back to admire his work, seeing that each strip is where it should be. He looks down at Rocket, seeking approval.


At this point, Rocket's not even going to argue. He may have opened his mouth to say something, and then quietly decided otherwise as he continued to watch Groot's progress, maybe even stifling a laugh.

"Pff. All right you big idiot, that's good enough. Let's get going." Jerking head and a thumb back the direction they'd come, he slung his backpack back into place and began to walk along the winding path away from the gates, not going too far to make sure that Groot's following.


That does it, all right. The walking tree nods, pausing as another quick thought crosses his mind. He steps forward again, ripping the smallest piece of tape off before sticking it down onto the lowest part of one bar with precision.

Once that is completed, he grins dumbly, stupidly proud of himself.

"I am Groot," he says as he turns, loping off after Rocket so that he doesn't get lost. After all that, he's really looking forward to pizza and Gilmore Girls reruns.


If and whenever they make it back to Zatanna's, anyway. It hasn't occurred to Rocket that the place might have security cameras around, but really, how's anyone going to explain a walking tree and a raccoon just decided to duct tape shut the front gates of Wayne manor?

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