Kittens and Raccoons and Trees, Oh My!

January 03, 2017:

Rocket and Groot come home from New Year's carousing and find another new and pretty face at the mansion.

Gotham City - Shadowcrest Manor

Zee's pad.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jessica Jones, Zatanna Zatara

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

New Year's bashes were probably the best thing that this country had going for it, so far as Rocket was concerned. He'd ended up staying late out with Groot, barhopping and carousing with newfound friends singing songs they'd never even heard of or known before, and by how well any of them had sung, no one really knew how they were supposed to go either. Not that it stopped them any. They were all having a blast, and no one cared that their new friends were covered in bark or fuzzy.

Somehow or another they'd ended up at someone's apartment where the rest of the early morning had been spent marathoning some space opera movie series and weathering an angry hangover.

It was through some other miracle or another that they'd stumbled back to the rich and gloomy side of Gotham, and that day in itself had been a blur, save that somehow they'd ended up with two boxes of tacos and a bag of nachos and cheese. This was hardly anything to complain about, given that it was about food time anyway. Which food time? Eh, doesn't matter. Their stomachs demand food, it's food time.

Perched upon one of his tall friend's great, woody shoulders, Rocket munches on a few chips as they come up the way to Zatanna's doorstep. "-what are you saying! I'm so the one with the blaster. And I'm not just saying that cuz he gets with the princess!"

—-

Inside Shadowcrest Mansion, Kitty has been quickly acclimating to life outside of a crystal prison. She has yet to contact Xavier's just yet - perhaps afraid of what she might find. But, she certainly has started to catch up on all the things she's missed while locked away.

Curled up on a couch with an iPad on her knees and Lockheed curled up on her abdomen, the brunette mutant has her ears open to make sure if one annoying Star-Idiot attempts to enter the living room. There are quite a few rooms in Shadowcrest that could qualify, but she is in the one closest to the entrance.

As she hears voices on the doorstep, the woman frowns, sitting up, disturbing the purple dragon. He gives an annoyed snuffle. "I don't think it's the jerk," she tells him, holding the iPad closer to herself. "But, I have no idea who it might be, either."

—-

To Groot, all of the partying during that time sort of blurred together, bars and people looking alike from way before the new year dropped in to those early hours of morning peeping through the window of a stranger's apartment to remind the two unlikely friends that, yes, time has marched on long enough to say that it's time to go back home. But between being appreciated as a dedicated cosplayer and the best party fiend ever, he really enjoyed watching those movies while everyone else was out cold.

"I am Groot," he replies in regard to the reasoning behind the 'who's who' game for that space opera, trying to look up at Rocket as he walks. "I am Groot. I /am/ Groot."

Amid his own counter-argument (if one can call it that), his gaze wanders back frontward as they reach the entrance. He opens the door with a tree-like finesse, promptly adding another "I am Groot" just as soon as he goes inside.

—-

"That's racist!" Rocket fires back, although in afterthought he supposes that's not the right term either, but he'll keep to his guns. He stuffs another handful of chips into his mouth, ignoring the shower of crumbs from the shattered flour triangles that fly from the forceful crunching of them between his teeth.

Once the door's open, the raccoon drops down from Groot's shoulder, striding through the entryway like he owns the place. "Flark, we didn't get any drinks with those, did we? Eh, no big deal- we'll just grab a few beers from the kitchen."

He moves onward, and it's not long before he notes that someone else is present, and by the looks of it, not one of any of the previous females that he's seen in Zee's home. Rocket blinks, fingering his chin. This chick's still got all her clothes on but she's not drunk, hungover or ugly. So either she's a friend of Zee's or as of yet, unacquainted with Star-Lord.

—-

As a large tree and a talking raccoon enter the mansion, Kitty's eyes widen. Perhaps Peter Quill mentioned something about them, but the thought has completely flown her mind at this moment. Instead, she scrambles up over the back of the couch and onto the floor behind it. She lands with a thud, not very gracefully and with a bit of a shriek of surprise and terror.

Lockheed quickly takes to air, protective of Kitty, and spouts a bit of flame from his nostrils at the large tree creature. "What! The! Hell!" Scrambling around, she realizes that her katana is not anywhere near her. Hands reach up to grab the back of the sofa and then eyes peek over it to glare and study the newcomers. They managed to make it inside - from what she's been told that means they must have been invited. But, this is still incredibly alarming.

"Who are you?!"

—-

Dusted with chip crumbs, Groot does nothing to brush the lingering chip shrapnel off of his person. He instead pokes his head around the corner moments after Rocket makes his way into the room Kitty and Lockheed occupies, peering in and flinching a little once the young woman's initial reaction kicks in.

It's a typical response, and he can't fault her for it. It's rare to see bipedal raccoons and walking trees on Terra. More chip pieces fall off the more Groot moves off to one side, tilting his head slightly at the question. With enough space between them, he places a hand on his chest.

"I am Groot."

—-

Rocket scowls. "That should be my line!" he says, folding his arms as he eyes Kitty. And then eyes are rolled as Groot introduces himself, which of course to everyone else sounds like that all the time, save that this is one of those times that he actually means it.

It's a reaction he doubts he'll ever see the end of so long as he's here on Terra, and one he's not particularly fond of- whether it's more towards him, Groot or both. Terrans!

"But fine, whatever. Okay. Yeah, he's Groot, and I'm Rocket. And it seems like every week we get a new pretty face in the house, so now it's your turn to give us your name."

—-

Comfortably hidden behind the couch, iPad discarded on the cushions, Kitty studies Rocket and Groot. "I'm Kitty. Pryde. I, uh, I came in with Ms. Jones." She refuses to put Peter Quill on the names of the people who are responsible for her to be outside of the gem.

Standing up slowly, she watches Rocket, eyes widening. "You're a ra-" her voice trails off. "Rocket? The space raccoon! Oh, I knowwait." She frowns. "You apparently put a hot gem in your mouth once."

The large tree is given a fascinated up and down. He's a bipedal tree. That speaks. "Wow. Groot. That's—-wow. Where are you guys from? I've never met a space tree or a space raccoon before." Straightening, she blinks as chips fall from Groot's frame. Lockheed hovers nearby in a worried pattern. "It's okay, Lockheed." With a quick gesture, the purple dragon lands on her shoulder. "This is Lockheed! We think he's from space, too."

—-

"I am Groot," Groot repeats, far from the standard greeting in its meaning. It really is too bad no one else can understand him, but recognize the name. As for the gem, he looks a little curious, glancing over at Rocket to confirm something. "I am Groot?"

—-

At least she obliges, and Rocket nods as he soaks up the information. "Ah, so you know Jess then." Jessica's all right in his book. Plus, she showed him where the booze in this house was. His brow furrows as Kitty begins to shape the r-word, going into a full on frown when she calls him a space raccoon, but before he can even object with his usual exclamations, that last bit clicks another piece of a puzzle in his mind as he looks at Groot.

"Hot soul gem chick!" he shouts abruptly, snap-pointing at Kitty. Okay, now he's back on track with things. For someone that might be vengeful, at least by Quill's mentioning, she seems all right at least. Maybe it's because she's not out for Rocket's blood.

"I ain't met no raccoons either, whatever they are," he says a bit sharply, still in eternal denial that there are such creatures that people might compare to him, because there's only one of him, dangit. "We're…well, definitely not local. I can't remember where I'm from, but I met Groot in jail." That's so reassuring.

Sizing up Lockheed, the raccoon-not-raccoon nods. "Huh. Could be. He looks like something you'd find in space. Terra is so deprived."

—-

"Oh, yes, I heard, thank you," Kitty tells Groot with a smile as Groot introduces himself again. She merely thinks he didn't hear that she introduced herself. The look that Groot gives Rocket is one that Lockheed actually mimics, but much more skeptically. The purple dragon looks at the 'space tree and space raccoon' and is not impressed. Sighing, he pushes off her shoulder, drops back onto the couch and picks up the iPad in his claws. He can't unlock it, but he's attempting to show he doesn't like the idea of people attempting to identify him.

"Sorry sorry, he doesn't like talking about where he might be from," she gives a bit of a shrug. Then, she narrows her eyes. "Hot—" with a quick puff of breath, she crosses her arms and rolls her eyes. "I take it you've been talking to what's-his-name. Star-Something. Kitty," she reconfirms. She's not going to be known as hot soul gem chick if she has her way.

"You haven't seen a raccoon?" she's certainly curious about that. "They're all over the place on Earth. But, they can't talk, can't ride bipedal Groots and are probably more concerned with food than anything else."

—-

The tree alien's mouth quirks a little in being misunderstood by Kitty, but he's used to it. Letting that go, he ponders the 'hot soul gem chick' phrase a little longer as the other two converse.

Gem. Gem. Surely it couldn't have been the thing he had on his head as a makeshift treetopper during Christmas — the same thing Quill might have mentioned being a great hot chocolate warmer, if he recalled this correctly.

……..NAH, couldn't be.

As soon as Groot stops thinking about that, he comes right back in when Rocket explains stuff about jail and Kitty saying something about the space dragon. There's a long pause on his end. "…I am Groot," he adds less-than-helpfully.

—-

"Oh, don't mind Groot. That's all he says. Not what he means, but that's all you'll get from him. In that specific order," Rocket explains casually. He's a bit distracted himself, watching the purple dragon try to be a peoples. Aw, in't that cute.

"Kitty, right. Well, not my fault Quill didn't drop a name with that info. For the record I had no idea anyone was in that thing- we didn't even remember where we got it! -and, /and/ I might add, I put it in my mouth for safe-keeping at he time so clearly you should be grateful!"

His scowl's back, although this is in response to the subject of raccoons. "Never! But everyone keeps calling me that! Those dumb Terrans did too when they tried stuffing me in that zoo place!"

—-

As Groot repeats his name again, Kitty is confused. It's clear on her face. Is she not being clear? Does he not understand her? The tree seems just as confused as she is for a moment and that gives her pause.

Luckily, Rocket explains a bit as to why Groot only says one thing. "Ah. So. It's a language of intonation: a bit like Cantonese. Different inflections of I and Am and Groot will mean different things?" Kitty is quite a studier of languages, so the idea is not foreign to her. That's fascinating. It's quite lucky that she doesn't know that the Guardians used her gem as a tree topper. It would be one more thing she would hold against them.

Moving around the couch, she reaches down to the iPad and unlocks it for Lockheed to try and browse the internet. "No more Top Chef, I'm still not caught up and you watch faster than I do," she warns him. Settling onto a section of the sectional, she raises an eyebrow at Rocket. "You were trying to safe-keep it? In your mouth? How?"

Her head tilts at the thought of putting Rocket into a zoo. "I don't think I've ever seen a raccoon in a zoo. Who was trying to grab you?"

—-

Groot nods, looking a little puzzled by the use of intonations. It makes some sense, though, seeing how there can still be a lot of trial-and-error with how everyone else interprets his words. But oh does he have an answer for why Rocket keeps things in his mouth for safe-keeping. He is more than happy to oblige in saying so himself, poised and everything, a gnarled finger pointing up at the ceiling in an explanatory gesture.

"I am Groot. I am Groot! I am Groot. I am. Groot."

…At this rate, maybe it's better to just let Rocket take the rest of Kitty's questions.

—-

"Uh….no. Not really, no. Look, it's hard to explain. He just started making sense to me all of a sudden. I dunno how long we were stuck in jail together that time." He shrugs. Glancing at Lockheed he snorts a bit. "Pff, Top Chef. Watch Gilmore Girls. That's where it's at!"

Looking to Kitty again, he nods, pausing as Groot goes off explaining in his own way. "…yes, that is exactly right and I am glad that at least someone appreciates the things I do. Even if at the time I didn't know there was anything in that crystal, okay? -and to paraphrase what he said, it was the last place anyone'd look for the thing! And only temporary. I mean, you're here and in one piece, right?"

Tossing his hands in the air, he shakes his head, going over to the couch where Lockheed is, not to bother the dragon, but he drops down to fish a hand around beneath the couch. "How should I know? They shot me up with something and the next thing I know, I'm here in a virtual palace. Zee was nice enough to save me the trouble of ripping anyone's eyes out."

—-

While Kitty does attempt to try and figure out what Groot is saying, she simply cannot parse his language. She gives the large tree a bit of a sheepish smile. "Ah, ceiling?" The pointing only helps so much. "I'm sorry, Groot, I don't understand you. Maybe I'll learn someday soon, okay? I've got a friend who can learn any language. He might be able to teach me."

Lockheed looks up at Rocket and gives a roll of his eyes. "Oh, uh, we already have seen that. We were trapped in the gem for six months, not six years." Obviously. Glancing between Groot and Rocket, she tries moves a bit closer. "What did he say? And why did you put the gem in your mouth? Does this have to do with bounty hunters?" That's something she heard happened. Though, she doesn't know the circumstances.

"Shot you up with something? The Asgardians? Why?" It seems like Kitty has quite a lot of questions.

—-

Groot droops a little. That darn language barrier. He gets over it quickly, however, perking at the chance someone may be able to help Kitty out with understanding him better. Despite his friend taking liberties in translating the three words he's bound to repeat over and over again, he doesn't have a problem with Rocket acting as his interpreter in the first place. It just makes him happy to know that he's understood.

Jail time was a great time.

—-

"Oh. Well then! -wait, so why were you stuck in that thing anyway?" Because obviously being stuck in a gem is Kitty's fault and not his. Continuing his search beneath the couch, Rocket waves his other hand in a dismissive sort of gesture. "Yeah, those guys. Not that they were much of a threat after all. But hey, you do what you do when something crazy comes up- Ah! there it is!"

Grinning, he sits back, pulling out one of those eco-friendly grocery bags. It's filled with things that are less than eco-friendly considering they are explosives that he's pieced together from a variety of cheap powertools and things he'd picked up here and there. "And no, not the Asgardians. Terrans, because they think anything that don't look like them and talks is a freak!" His ears droop a bit, it's still a very touchy subject for him.

—-

"I'm sorry," Kitty truthfully tells Groot as he visibly droops. "We'll figure it out. Oh, maybe we could figure out a sort of shorthand! We could do a one nod for yes, two nods for no in certain situations." She's determined to find a way to communicate with the tree. "Do you—-do you want to watch Top Chef with Lockheed? They're in Charleston South Carolina. There's been a lot of twists." She's not sure what a tree watches.

The question is met with a shrug. "I tried to stop a weapon, got stuck in a crystal." If Rocket can be flippant about bounty hunters, she can be flippant about being stuck in a crystal for six months. The mention of being talked of as a freak is met with a bit of a squaring of her shoulders. "It's not reserved for aliens," she tells him. "They think that about other Terrans, too." As he pulls up explosives from the couch, she doesn't know what they are yet, though she is certainly suspicious. "What—what are those?"

—-

The ent-like being smiles a little, nodding at Kitty's suggestion before tilting his head a few degrees to the right.

Wait. Nodding and shaking his head is pretty straightforward, right?

While he thinks about it, he blinks, absently wandering over to see what Lockheed has immersed himself with. With the invitation, he glances between the girl and the dragon, slowly settling (and sinking) down onto the couch once Rocket is done rooting through it for his stuff. The raccoon creature's last statement is given another subtle nod, knowing full well how that goes just as his attention falls onto the show on the iPad screen.

—-

"So did you stop it? The weapon." Unless the weapon is why Kitty ended up in a crystal. And that still didn't explain how Star-Lord ended up with the thing. After all, none of them remembered where it came from, nor knew of its importance- which was why poor Kitty ended up being a hand and cocoa warmer/Christmas decoration.

Slowly the pile is transferred from bag to the floor beside him as Rocket carefully looks over each one as he counts them off in his head, just to make sure they're all accounted for. With this much traffic in Zee's mansion he'd hate for anyone to have found out the hard way what these things are. Zee'd kick them out for sure!

"Bombs," he says, as calmly as though he were talking about the weather.

—-

"Those, would be explosives." Comes the cheerful comment in the familiar voice that belongs to one Peter Quill as he strolls in from the other room. "Rocket there is the most talented engineer I've seen when it comes to them. Pretty sure he could blow up a moon if you give him enough time and enough toasters to work with."

He strolls in, smirking to himself before glancing at the furry explosives expert. "Heads up." He adds as he tosses him a bottle that he had tucked behind his back a second ago.

"You want anything, he angles the question towards the other three in the room, Kitty, Groot, and Lockheed.

—-

Lockheed gives a chitter and flutters upward as Groot collapses onto the couch. He was afraid of being crushed! Instead, he makes a quick decision and then settles on Groot's shoulder with the iPad. Holding it out to a part where Padma is giving out Quickfire instructions, she attempts to tell the tree that this is very interesting. It may get lost in multiple language barriers.

Kitty, for her part, also scrambles up. "Bombs?!" She almost careens right into Peter Quill. Disgusted, she quickly backpedals the other way. "I was sitting there all day and no one said anything. I have no desire to be the collateral damage of half a moon explosion."

The easy movement of Peter is met with a narrowing of her eyes. "No. I'm fine. I should probably get going."

—-

Oh good, the screen is a lot closer now. Oblivious to the fact he almost squishes Lockheed, Groot is cool with having a winged space cat/tablet holder on his shoulder. "I am Groot," he says in return, adding to the confusion in the process.

At the sound of Quill's melodious voice, Groot looks up. A dumb smile breaks across his wooden bark face. "I am Groot!" Like Quill would know what a tree wants to drink. Groot needs to work on adding another word or two to his vernacular.

—-

A grin pulls at Rocket's own face as he perks up, glancing over towards Quill. He frees up his hands long enough to catch that bottle that's sent his way, giving the man a salute with it before he uses the edge of one of his explosives to pop it open. Guy likes to live dangerously.

"I told Quill! And how was I s'pposed to know there was gonna be more house guests!" he says defensively, shrugging before he takes a swig from the bottle, releasing a satisfied 'aaah.'

"Anyway, relax- these aren't moon-level. That hardware I bought won't even level a city block. A car, maybe, but nothin' bigger."

With a brief glance at Groot, he adds in Quill's direction, "-Groot wants a Kool-Aid."

—-

"Just can't take it being that close to me can ya, babe? I understand." Quill shoots towards the retreating form of Kitty as he moves to lean against a wall. A smirk on his face. He's enjoying himself.

There is a nod towards Rocket though. "I see you met the rest of the crew." He adds with a grin. "Best damn crew in the galaxy." He adds wryly. "…and apparently one with excellent taste for drinks. I'll find some Kool-aid for ya. Somewhere."

A look again at Kitty as if he dares her to contradict him in that last comment. "And don't worry. The bombs only go off if Rocket wants them too." A sip on his own drink.

"Mostly." He drawls after a moments thought. "Mostly."

—-

Lockheed is quite content to settle in amongst Groot's barky shoulders. He holds the iPad out as far as his stubby little arms can hold it and then gestures with a bit of "eh eh" to Groot that maybe he should hold it so they can both enjoy it at the proper distance. The dragon is nothing if not thoughtful with people whose company he likes.

"I think one house guest would mean not to hide explosives in the couch!" she says to him with an exasperated tone. This should be obvious! "A person is larger than a car, Rocket!" she tells him, flustered, unsure as to how this small creature could be so reckless with life. Then, she realizes that these two are more than just people Star-Lord mentioned, they're buddies. It all starts to snap into place. They have the same sort of morals.

Kitty pauses in the doorway as Peter's quip is heard. She debates letting it lie, but then realizes that only leads to worse and worse treatment. Instead, strides back until she is very close to Peter Quill - mere inches in front of him. She looks him right in the eye as he leans casually against the wall. There's a pause for a few moments, almost awkwardly so as she proves just how close quarters she can stand. Then she slaps him, hard.

"You know nothing, Jon Snow." Then, she turns right on her heel and without looking back moves toward the doorway. "Lockheed, show Groot as much Netflix as he wants. Rocket, it was a pleasure to meet you, thank you for not blowing me up. Star-Idiot, go to hell. I'm going to try and find the stairs in this crazy mansion."

—-

Kool-aid: the drink of champions.

Groot is already warming up to his new friend Lockheed, appreciative of the effort the little dragon puts into showing him things. He even offers to try holding out the iPad for him so that his little arms don't get tired. "I am Groot."

Never mind the fact that the exchange going on around them sort of ends up the way it usually does whenever someone is in the company of the Guardians. He only looks over once Kitty promptly makes her exit and one last suggestion of this so-called Netflix. In his confusion, a tiny wave is given as she goes. "I am Groot?"

—-

The look Rocket shares with his tree friend is one that might say 'wow, what's her problem?' Surely he wouldn't handle such things if he was so worried about them blowing up so easily!

There's a brief look thrown at Quill, brows lifting then as he watches Kitty step up to the man, a slightly malicious grin pulling across his face as she slaps him. He quickly smothers the look when she looks his way, smiling innocently. "Sure, I never blow up people unless I mean to." He gestures with some vague directions. "Right down the hall and you can't miss it. Oh, and watch out for the talkin' dead things!" he calls after her. And then he'll look back at Quill, smirking.

"I'm beginnin' to like her."

—-

/Crack/

That…is not an unfamiliar sensation. Nope. Not at all. The red welts on his face? Also not unfamiliar territory that the irrepressible pilot continues to tread. It /does/ snap his head around a bit. Slowly he looks back towards her.

"I…" His eyes narrowing, voice slow in coming. "…did not get that reference at all."

Then she's walking away and Quill raises a hand to his face to rub at the red welts to try to even them out again. "And its Star-/LORD/, Kitten!" He tosses back towards her back as she stalks off.

His eyes sideglance towards Rocket though and he snorts. "Hurph. You would." He glowers at the Raccoon of may explosives before he turns the opposite direction. "I'm gonna go find some Kool-aid. You two…try not to break too much stuff!"

—-

"I am Groot," Groot replies inattentively, sounding like a kid fully engrossed in watching the next episode of his favorite superhero show.

It's so nice to have friends.

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