Typical Guardians Fare

February 05, 2017:

The Guardians of the Galaxy decide to throw a surprise party to cheer up Bucky and Jane. They're joined by Kitty Pryde and Jessica Jones. It goes remarkably well.

Brooklyn, NY


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

So. Jane has been tortured. Bucky has been mind controlled. Peter Quill helped them all get out and now. Now Jane and Bucky are out. And Peter well. He totally isn't worried about them. But you know. He kinda drank all Jane's milk last time to he should take some over. Yeah. Thats totally the only reason. Totally.

…second problem!!

Its gonna be awkward.

See he has a feeling that Jane is gonna be sad, and Bucky might be guilty. SO. The whole thing is gonna be awkward. That's not Peter Quill's jam. So after agonizing over it he decided there was only way deal with this.

More people.

So he got Rocket, and Groot as backup. Then for good measure snagged Kitty. He would explain later. But it was a party. Totally a party thing. Congratulations, you're not dead or mind broken anymore!

So they should bring cupcakes or something.

Now the trick was getting Groot up to Jane's apartment. The stairs were never meant for tree guys. They managed though! It took a bit and a lot of stares. Peter never once explained though. Explaining just complicated things.

"So," Star-lord drawls as he knocks on the door. "So just a warning. One of these two, that Bucky guy might be a bit high strung so just be cool." A pause. "I'm sure they took most most of his guns away." A longer pause. "No I'm not sure of that. But it'll be fine!"

Rocket and Groot are awesome back-up. Just…not for parties. Fights? Sure. Explosions? Most definitely. But for sad hat parties in some lame attempt to cheer people up? You were better off looking in the phone book for a rental clown.

Of course, people need a break from hobbies, especially those that involve creating WMDs, and who doesn't like pizza? The real question however is just how much of the pizza is left, considering that the token alien pair have been snacking on the way over. There should at least be one box left. Maybe. Out of…well, we won't go there.

"Question." Rocket speaks up, apparently not at all bothered or surprised by Quill's warnings offered. "Who's Bucky."

Not knowing either Bucky or Jane, but having a little bit of inside knowledge as to who they are and why they are there, Kitty Pryde is glad to visit friends of Peter's to help cheer them up. She's a little fuzzy as to the whys of their sadness, but she's an enthusiastic person generally and likes to do nice things for people. Because of that, she has brought homemade cupcakes: chocolate with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. As they climb the stairs, she continually gives the people they pass an apologetic smile and tries to help Groot to their destination. Lockheed, perched on his shoulder, enjoys his ride.

"He's just…well…sorry! You know how New York is." It's not exactly an explanation, but it is NYC. They've probably seen weirder things.

As they wait outside the door, Kitty stands next to Peter and nods at his explanations. Clutching the plastic container to her chest, she looks at Rocket and Peter with wide-eyes, "Who's—-wait! Do they not know we're coming?" Then, "Most of his guns???"

They thought the balloons would help distract the eye from the tree. They thought wrong, but obviously that wasn't too big a deal once they got past that obstacle.

After getting up the stairs, Groot's face emerges from the bright colors mixed with mylar, one of the latter reading 'It's a Girl!' because it somehow got shuffled into their tab. "I am Groot," he nods, fine with the arrangement as it is.

It'll be fine. He trusts Quill.

His expression shifts at Rocket and Kitty's responses, but he shrugs, pleasantly concerned about all of this.

Jessica Jones is completely unaware of the Guardian Scheme being played out on the stairwell. Unlike some people she had even called ahead, suggesting that she pick up one of New York's very best pizzas and bring it over so they can enjoy cheesy, tomato-y goodness. She's carrying four of them because she's not entirely sure how big an appetite Bucky will have, and because pizza can always be reheated. She's got a supreme, she's got a plain cheese, she's got a veggie, she's got just a plain pepperoni. Also breadsticks. She has no idea that she's going to be filling in gaps for a pair of aliens who ate most of their pizza on the way over. She has a couple of liters of drinks in a bag over that.

But when she sees this motley procession she scowls from behind them. "Tell me you guys didn't decide to surprise them," is what she says. Her eyes lift to the 'It's a Girl' balloon. "You know what? Don't even answer that. Already this has the hallmarks of a well-thought out and well-planned visit."

The sarcasm cannot be missed. She's lookin' at you, Quill. Her look for Kitty is friendly enough; she knows damn well this is not Kitty's fault.

"Alright, everyone out of the way, Jesus fuck, you do not fucking surprise people who have been through a traumatic situation. You're lucky Bucky hasn't thrown a fucking gas grenade down the hallway at hearing too many god damn footsteps he didn't expect. Just…just get behind me."

Stomp stomp stomp grump growl. She knocks on the door, and whichever of the two opens it will get, "The Guardians of the Galaxy want to throw you a surprise party. They are behind me now. I can tell them to go if you want, but then you'll have a very sad giant tree in your hallway." Because it is a nice gesture, and she thinks on some level it might help them both. It's just the fucking surprise part.

Fortunately for the lives of everyone present, Bucky hasn't thrown a gas grenade down the hall because he's distracted. Typically it is insanely hard to distract the Winter Soldier, but then again he's kinda off-duty from being the Winter Soldier at the moment, and a guy gotta have downtime sometime.

That and some things really are just really distracting.

Neither he nor Jane were expecting Jessica for a short while yet, so there is a distinct air of confusion to the way Jessica's call goes unanswered for about a minute. Then there's a distant, "Hang on," presumably from the man himself, and the sound of approaching steps. There is a pause— he's probably checking through the peephole, because paranoia— before the door unlatches and opens slightly to reveal a tired-looking Bucky framed in the doorway.

He's about as dressed down as anyone has ever seen him, in just a shirt and jeans. The shirt is slightly askew, as if he'd gotten it on in a hurry. The hem of it, on the right, is caught on the grip of the M1911 holstered there.

Gun count: 1.

"Surprise what?" he asks, looking with bewilderment at the assemblage.

The home of Jane Foster, familiar only to Peter Quill and Jessica Jones, is as ordinary and average as any Brooklyn brownstone. This late at night, the neighbourhood is largely residential and the sidewalk din thankfully thin — though there are sure some of her neighbours that do a mean double-take. But it is New York. Everyone's seen much, much worse.

From outside, the curtains are drawn over the windows to prevent any quick look in, though the edges seam with inward light— light off of inside lamps. Someone's definitely home. Seriously, the apartment is holding up two people fresh out of a complete physical, emotional, and psychological nightmare. Of course they'd be home.

And they are.

There's a distant, "James, don't. It's probably just a — are you seriously. Are you seriously, right now— James."

Inside her bedroom, Jane groans.

But as the front door opens, Bucky Barnes emerged to fill it with his frame, rumpled shirt, handy gun, and staring eyes, a second bit of movement peeks in at his back. Jane Foster wanders in, attracted by the noise, looking a litle piqued. Her t-shirt, which reads 'YOU DIED' in a very familiar font only to Dark Souls fans, is inside-out.

She stares at the open door. At the congregation at the threshold. She takes it all in, really. Quill. Jessica. An unfamiliar woman at his side. Cupcakes.

A giant tree and a talking raccoon.

Jane stares.

"You know, Bucky! Vader! Remember he helped Groot pick out that sofa?" Explains Peter towards Rocket as he waits for an answer at the door. "You two didn't eat all the pizza did you?" He asks as he looks between Groot and the gun happy Racoon. "The balloons were a nice touch by the way."

His attention swivels towards Kitty then and he nods. "Well yeah, I mean come on. Can't take away all of his guns. Guy has a complex or something about that. Just rude." A pause. "Well yeah, I mean I said I would drop by but not really a suprise party if I tell them we are coming!"

Right on the tail of that comment he suddenly hears a familiar voice. "Jessica! This is totally well thought out and well planned! We brought food. And cupcakes. And drinks! We got everything. Groot even brought balloons." He gestures towards said Balloons as evidence.

Jessi pushes past him though and he sighs. "Man it wasn't totally a surprise party. If it was I wouldn't have knocked. I mean come I know know how he can be! He tried to shoot me with a rocket launcher." He mutters half-under his breath.

Then the door opens and Bucky is standing there. Looking…stunned and surprised. He leans slowly around Jessica to grin towards Bucky. "Woah." Pause. "Glad we didn't go in though a window."

Slowly, out of Jane and Jess' eyesight he gives him a thumbs up.

He clears his throat then before raising a bag full of various drinks. It might be Jessica's bag. It might not be.

"I brought drinks!" A pause. "And aliens!" He gestures to Groot and Rocket. "And a dragon!" This is pointed at Lockheed. "…and this is Kitty! She's my…" A pause. "…uh…" A glance at her. Then back at Bucky. "Well just don't shoot her ok!"

The raccoon snap-points at Quill. "Oh, that guy. He has a real name? …I think I like Vader better." Bucky? What kind of name was that? Glancing down at the stack of pizza boxes he's carrying, he snorts. "No! We only ate…" he starts and then trails off to peek inside boxes, "-well, we got about two boxes left, anyway."

Nodding, he tilts his head back to look upside-down at Kitty. "I'd be upset if someone took all my toys away."

His ears perk at the sound of someone else coming up behind them, and looking back, he grins at Jessica. "Hey, more pizza! Ooh, and bread thingys." He's somewhat surprised that she hadn't brought any booze. Sidling aside so he won't get stepped on, he exchanges a glance with Quill, shrugging before looking towards the door once someone opens.

"Hey." In the brief lull as Quill finds his voice again, Rocket drops a greeting. He might also be smirking, just a touch.

Groot is proud of his choices. Quill just builds that up. His unsaid reasoning for the 'It's a Girl!' mylar balloon: it's pink. Pink is a color. And he likes it.

As for the number of pizzas they still had left, he belches softly after Rocket briefly tallies the boxes, covering his mouth with a wooden hand. Pizza is a magical food and he can eat it for days now. That's…not really good for trees, is it?

But oh! OH, someone answered the door! It's Vader-Bucky! "I am Groot!" The tree greets the silver-armed and rumpled man with a jolliness not many can understand. In his excitement, he forgets he has balloons on him, their strings loosening from his grip bouncing against the ceiling at different rates.

He catches a bit of the last part of Kitty's muttering, glancing at the nose-frosted Lockheed before blinking curiously at the cupcake girl. "—I am Groot?"

Perched on Groot's shoulder, Lockheed holds a single balloon. It's certainly one of Groot's. His says, "Happy birthday!" The balloons seem to suffer from mixed messages. Also, his snout still has some frosting on it from when he stole a cupcake while Kitty was putting them in the travel container.

Jessica's arrival is met with an apologetic look from Kitty. "I— this is —well, this is a bit of a mess." That's kind of an understatement. "I'd say we should start backing away, but do you know how long it took us to get Groot up the stairs?" It was an involved process. With a sigh, she holds the container tighter. "So, you're saying this guy is a traumatized, gun-toting human Rocket?" A hand reaches up to rest on her forehead.

The door opens to find a rumpled Bucky standing there. Her eyes immediately go to the metal arm. Then the gun. "—-who has a metal arm," she mutters under her breath. "….and who I think we just interrupted having sex." Deep breath, sigh. "We are so dead."

Peter's thumb's up may be out of sight of Jane and Jessica, but it is definitely not to Kitty. Instinctually, she smacks his arm. There's a bit of a look at his paused and then aborted attempt to explain their relationship and then puts on a smile to try and greet Bucky and Jane. "Uh, hi. Yeah. I'm Kitty Pryde. The purple dragon is my friend Lockheed. I've been staying with, uh, these guys. I brought cupcakes, please don't shoot us."

Jessica 's scowl intensifies as Quill gives Bucky the thumbs up, staring at him for one moment as if she cannot believe he was crass enough to do that. Thankfully, Kitty's got that covered.

"I'd apologize for being early," she says dryly, "But…"

She just doesn't even comment on them having sex. This does not embarrass her. In her line of work she's seen more bare asses pumping away than she cares to admit. She's dealt with an angry Congressman giving her the full monty. Bucky's rumpled state is just like, yay, thank goodness he's clothed.

"I can still send them away," the PI tells the couple. Bros before … surprise parties, bitches. She's ready to be the buzzkill, perfectly willing to be the bad guy here if that's what these two need.

Yes, he's seriously. Right now. James Barnes hasn't been in the 21st century long enough to learn that you never answer doors or the phone anymore, much to Jane's chagrin. He glances back as she wanders up beside him; a slight shift of his metal arm, the prosthetic humming audibly with every articulation, prompts her not to step past him.

Not that the caution seems warranted. It's just Quill, and Quill's… entourage. The supersoldier's eyes sweep the assembly in one sharp glance, assessing known faces and focusing in on the one stranger present. Not such a hard focus he doesn't have peripheral vision, however: he catches Quill flashing him a thumbs-up, and his mouth thins.

"…Hi," he says, confused, to all the various greetings, though he's still regarding Kitty consideringly. Up until Quill introduces her as his 'well just don't shoot her.'

Please don't shoot us, Kitty feels it important to re-emphasize. Bucky has an odd reaction to that, his features tightening a little with strain— as if the words triggered some unwelcome recollection.

Then it's gone, and he struggles his expression back to something more friendly. Or at least, neutral. "Not gonna shoot anyone," he says. "I'm… surprised to see you here after…" What he did. He tries again, "I was gonna stop by myself, but…" They beat him to the punch, with an apparent forgiveness he can barely wrap his mind around.

As for Jessica's offer? The gentleman in Bucky kind of hates to turn people away, and that much is evident in the way he says, "Well…" but that's really up to Jane and he knows it. He glances at her, the question in his eyes obvious.

Wandering closer, slightly disheveled by transparently curious, At first it is the arresting shift of his metal arm that stops Jane Foster, paused in place.

And then it's just the everything else that roots her there.

Unmoving, unable to speak, barely even able to breathe, Jane Foster still stares.

Smirking raccoon. Talking tree. Purple dragon with a balloon.

Lost in the background, the woman doesn't do much else. The rush of greetings from everyone, some familar to her, some new, move pointlessly through Jane like she hasn't even heard. Like she's not even here. She stands there, jaw left open, staring. The moments tic by. Time passes.

Eventually, when Bucky glances back, seeking a final veto on whether their houseguests should even be admitted entrance, if it's too much, too soon —

— Jane is still staring. At Rocket. At Groot. At Lockheed.

Her brown eyes are wide to their whites, and full of stars.

"That looks like a no," Bucky says dryly to Jessica.

Peter just looks from the confused look on Bucky's face, to the star-eyed look on Jane's. "Gonna take that as a come in." He calls as he starts to step though the door with his goodies. Look, he figured two aliens and a dragon was sufficient distraction from their troubles to warrant entry.

"I brought some milk too cause uh, you were out last time I was here." He adds, just quietly slipping that in.

He gets smacked and he glances at Kitty with a mouthed 'WHAT?!' it was a bro thing! Totally congratulating the guy! HE WAS BEING NICE. Or at least as nice as he ever is.

The next words are towards Jane. "This is Rocket, and that is Groot." Pointing to each of his crew as he speaks. "Yes. They are from space. No he doesn't know what a raccoon is, and yes he is a tree." There. That's out of the way.

Then a shrug is aimed towards Bucky. "Eh, its no big. I mean really if I held it against everyone who ever tried to kill me I wouldn't have any friends. These two…" A thumb is hooked towards Rocket and Groot. "…tried to collect me for a bounty when I first met up. Wasn't you, so no hard feelings."

Water under the bridge.

That is indeed how Peter works.

A grin then at Jess. "See. Look at Jane's face. Totally this was a great idea."

Peter Quill. Master Stratigist.

"Way to make it awkward, Kitty," Rocket says, and even as everyone's still trying to sort out information and process what to do's and introductions, he seems to be quite content with just letting himself in. At least he can do that even with two people standing at the doorway- although the pizza boxes might be a problem. Tch.

He looks up from trying to figure out how to safely angle pizza boxes between Bucky's legs to get through the doorway, rolling his eyes at Quill. "Um, we would have gotten that bounty too if not for gettin' picked up by the Xandarians. So yeah, no 'tried' about it."

"You can't just—-" Kitty sighs and shakes her head at Peter as he invites them into Jane's apartment. There's a raised eyebrow at him as he mentions that the last time he was here she was out of milk. Surrendering her tight grip on the cupcake container, she pries open the lid, handing one up to Groot as he looks at her and (she thinks?) asks her for one. Lockheed hops down with a flutter of wings, trying to snatch it away from the tree before he can get it, then soars over toward Jane with the Birthday Balloon. He chitters a greeting in his alien language.

"I think Lockheed may be an alien, too," Kitty explains to Jane. To Bucky, she gives a bit of a sheepish smile. "Sorry we just showed up here like this. I thought Peter had let you know we were coming. I should have known he didn't." She holds out the opened plastic cupcake Tupperware to Bucky. "They're chocolate!" she announces.

To Rocket, she raises an eyebrow and blushes just a bit. "I made it awkward?" She looks to Jess, helplessly, waving a hand at the others as if to say, 'you're sane, help me out here.' "You tired to collect him for a bounty? What did he do that put a price on his head?" She pauses, eyebrow raised as she looks over at Quill, "Is it still available?"

Ooh cupcake distraction. That totally veers his attention from the previous seconds of the conversation going on, taking the cupcake offered with a nod of thanks. "I am Groot." Of course, being an overgrown tree does make him slow at times (all the time), so he does miss it when Lockheed gets it first. "I am Groot!" he huffs, sounding a little offended by the stealing stealer. He waves a hand, however, letting his mind wander back to gathering the balloons back together. It wouldn't be good to leave them all willy-nilly.

Once he does this, he steps inside, lowering his head so that he doesn't ruin the doorway or whatever. Smiling his tree smile, he waves at Bucky and Jane…and then tilts his head at the latter.

Maybe there is something wrong with her eyes. She should get that checked.

Jessica will helpfully take the pizza boxes from Rocket, stepping aside till everyone else is inside. Jessica smirks and shrugs at Kitty though, a sort of 'why are you still banging your head against this brick wall?' look. She waits until Groot is through, then comes through herself. She busies herself with setting out pizza boxes, opening them up, opening up breadsticks, putting the Coke bottles out in some semblance of order. She eyes Jane's shell-shock, glances at Bucky, just not 100% sure what the hell to do about it.

Finally she just takes out her phone, which has pretty decent speakers, and puts some music on, because…party. It's her 90s play list, the shit she grew up with, and so Red Hot Chili Peppers are the first thing that comes on.

When she realizes the shuffle hit 'Californication' first, she hastily hits "Skip."

Bucky's eyes soften visibly at the sight of Jane's star-eyed expression. That alone seems worth suffering some noise and hubbub for a while. Though honestly, he can't say that he doesn't… need this, to a degree. Some semblance of noise and normalcy to keep him from being alone with his thoughts.

Do you deserve it? a quiet voice asks from the back of his mind. He closes his eyes until it stops.

He reopens them to look at Jane. The sight of her, rapt, is centering to him. Honestly, he'd probably be the same if he hadn't already seen Rocket and Groot on multiple occasions by now. Though he's still taking surreptitous second looks at the dragon.

Stepping aside as he notices Rocket trying to get past, he pauses as Quill stops to shrug off his awkward attempts to verbalize his guilt and surprise at their appearance. No hard feelings, Quill insists. People are trying to kill me all the time. He doesn't seem too phased at the idea of being collected for a bounty, all told. "Well, take me off the list of people who wanna kill you," he says.

A pause. "Though I still need to know why you had those panties."

This is right about the time Kitty hands him cupcakes with an apology. "This is… thanks," he says, awkwardly. "Though if you're with him," he says, tilting his head at Quill, "you're gonna need to get used to apologizing a lot for him."

There's a clap on Groot's elbow— the closest safe part of the alien tree— as he passes, conveying the cupcakes to where Jessica is setting things up. There's a brief pause.

"Oh shit, this is still around," Bucky can be heard distantly as he discovers the Coke. "It's packaged all different."

Finally let inside, Jane Foster's apartment is the average New York fare: too much rent, too little space.

The front foyer immediately opens into the living room, the galley kitchen a hard left and claustrophobically tiny. At the very least the /surprise/ not-surprise party finds her apartment in strangely amenable conditions, all thanks to Jane's past few days' of just-slightly-traumatized perpetual cleaning spree. The main room is much more orderly than her saner days, couch and armchair, a coffee table with her closed laptop, no television, a mantle with a growing collection of whisky bottles, and, pushed to one corner of the room, a messy stack of put-away notes, star charts, among a cornucopia of electronic parts, some of them the remnants of old phones and tablets, others the scattered bits of dissected spectroscopes, among a huge heap of circuitboards.

Though she doesn't say as much, in fact being a complete failure at human communication, Jane offers no reservation against the Guardians (sorry Kitty, you're a Guardian now) and Jessica admitted entrance. She's still staring. Staring with absolute wonder, first down at Rocket as he steps by, dumbstruck at just how he moves bipedally, and then back up at — at the small purple dragon flying a balloon her way. She glances at Bucky, eyes like moons. Do you SEE this? Are you seeing this?!

Jane stares. And, then, slowly, a smile begins to crop up on her face, bit by bit. She reaches out, slowly, hesitantly, like she wants to touch. That's when Kitty steps up, offering a greeting, and Jane, peeks back, blinking to try to get her mind on straight. "Hi," she chirps, a little overwhelmed, but welcoming. "No, no it's fine! It's — welcome. Um, everyone. You're a — you're a friend of Quill?"

Jane pauses, her expression solemn. "I'm so sorry."

But her attention flits back away too, forced to look up — up and up and up at the giant tree making entrance. There's aliens in her home. THIS IS SO AMAZING. I am Groot? he says.

"I am Jane," she bleats back up, biting hopefully on her lower lip. Jane reaches out again. She… really wants to touchy the tree.

"You got lucky with that stun cannon shot! I could have gotten away if she wanted too!" Comes Quill's protest as they slip in the door. It seems that the verbal jousts with Rocket are…well…standard fare for this little group of people. The Guardians. Their antics are either completely random, or the most carefully crafted plan in the history of existence. Its hard to tell which.

The truth is likely to never be known.

His attention arrested by Kitty and Groot he just grins. "I think he likes the cupcakes." Then a pause. "…and why can't I. I mean it was a compliment!" He hisses in a question towards her as they step into the room.

He snags a piece of pizza though as he trundles past Bucky and into the room. "I'll keep that in mind." He adds wryly towards the two of them. "And man I don't know! I just came to get my jacket, you were the one that threw it on top of them. They worked distracting you though!"

He doesn't even seem to be even halfway bothered by that question. Just quietly munching on the pizza. A glance into the kitchen and then. "Yeah! I was suprised too! I'm stunned its still around." A pause. "I'm glad that Orbitz went away though. Those were just weird."

A pause again. "And wait! Why do you need to apologize!" A glance at Jane. "Hey!" A pause. "This is the last time I try to do anything nice for anyone!" He adds as he starts to reach around Bucky for a cupcake.

"Forty thousand units," Rocket quips back at Kitty. "-but all our records were wiped so that's probably not valid anymore." Free of menial labor (aka carrying pizza boxes, two of which are empty, btw), the small guardian is free to inspect these new surroundings. It doesn't really impress him.

"We're supposed to have a party in here? This'll be even dumber than when we were all standin' in a circle on the Milano!" He steps over to Groot, tapping at the big tree's leg as he hands over the beers that he'd had in his backpack so they can be set with the rest of the drinks.

It doesn't take a second sweep of the main room before his eyes alight upon that little pile in the corner. OH BOY, there's entertainment after all! Jane, don't be surprised if you end up with several new explosives by the end of this.

"Hey!" A pause as he turns to Kitty. "No turning me in for bounties! I mean that last one is wiped." A pause as he squints slightly. "Though there is the one from that weird group that wanted me." Another bite of pizza. "I think they might want you too, Kitty. Dunno. And then Yondu wants to talk to us…but that one is on you and Groot too, Rocket! So don't think you can turn me in for that one!"

Peter Quill. A Very Popular Man.

"Anyway, we won't be going into Reaver space when we go anyway. So its not problem."

Getting a clap on the arm from Bucky is like a gold sticker. They're friends now, friends forever.

But yes, sidetrack over, the tree alien also takes the beers from Rocket, meandering over to where Jessica is setting stuff down. He'll just help himself to one of the cupcakes while he has it in his possession. "I am Groot," he says, offering the acquired food and drink of choice to the PI in turn.

As for the balloons…well. Those are subsequently released without hesitation after they all trail after him across the room. Now it really looks like a party.

That poor cupcake doesn't stand a chance the moment it's tossed into his wood-hewn maw, perpetually chewing and savoring the flavor. Turning again, not-so-carefully, he is met with Jane introducing herself with those big ol' eyes of hers. "I amf Grphoovt," Groot replies, mouth full but grinning away as he offers a hand for a friendly tree-touchy handshake.

The shrug from Jessica is met with a sigh and a bit of a resigned shrug of her own. Really, she should know that by now. Lockheed is given a, "Lockheed! That's for Groot. You've already had one. You give that back. You know how you get if you have too much sugar." To Jane, she explains, "Like a toddler on a sugar rush." Lockheed, after delivering the balloon, frowns and sulkily hands the cupcake back to Groot, landing on his shoulder again.

She sighs at the designation and shakes her head, "I'm not— " she's not with him. They just showed up here together? There's a lot of strangeness going on. As Jane seems to be studying Groot and Lockheed and Rocket, Kitty is watching Bucky while not being appalled by Peter. He didn't know Coke was still a thing? He comes with a million guns? "Is he an alien, too?" she asks to Jessica, under her breath. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. There's a grin given to Jane and she laughs. "Yeah, I'm sorry, too."

Bucky's greeting to Quill is met with what they may soon assume is her typical expression - a raised eyebrow. "You tried to kill him? Let me get this straight, Peter, your friend circle consists of Rocket and Groot, who tried to sell you. And this guy, who tried to kill you?" She's not sure where she exactly fits in on the friend thing, so she leaves herself off of it for now. And then, she blinks. "Panties?" She studies Peter. "You just came to get your jacket…and you had panties in there?" Oh my God. The mutant merely shakes her head with a groan and moves to Rocket to get some pizza. "Why didn't you turn him in again?" Peter's insistence that she not turn him in for bounties is met with a smirk. "Me? I've never done anything that would get a bounty placed on my head. I'm pretty sure they're just after you."

"That's the original formula, too. You missed the entire 'New Coke' debacle, and that one, at least, is a lucky break." Jessica tells Bucky, with a solemn smile that really conceals dancing good humor. Now that she no longer has to play the bad guy, now that she no longer has to rabidly protect the members of The Shittiest Club, the woman has relaxed. Now that the look on Jane's face is wonder, not upset. She can put those hard edges away. They're a tool, not a mask she has to wear all the time. Satisfying as the mask still sometimes is.

She bops around a little to Cake's "Going the Distance," the far more acceptable next song in the play list. She also bites her lip, eyes brimming with amusement as Jane goes to introduce herself to Groot. Yeah. This is going to be okay. This is going to be just fine.

"No it's not," Jessica tells Quill with a smirk, scooping up a piece of cheese pizza. "Don't lie."

She watches Rocket with some amusement. "Were you singing Kumbaya? Because that just kind of makes that mental image great."

"Thanks Groot," Jessica says, as he offers her a beer. "But…I'm trying to quit. I'll just have Coke today." She smiles at him, then feeling unusually warm, gives him a quick hug. Because maybe, you know, that foolish Christmas wish? Maybe it wasn't so foolish after all.

Maybe it's come true.

She shakes her head at Kitty and says, "You know how you were gone for six months? He's been out of pocket for 7 decades. It's going to take him awhile to catch up." Jessica smirks at Kitty's assessment of Quill's friends list. "Oh I dunno. Quill's got me at least. All I did to him was fling him at a party once. It was for a good cause."

"I did not throw them on there," Bucky argues. "I didn't even know she had anything like that." A terrible suspicion strikes him. "Were they even actually hers?"

Kitty has opinions about that, too. In fact she has opinions about everything surrounding the panty debacle, including the fact Bucky tried to kill Quill over it. ESPECIALLY the fact Bucky tried to kill Quill. You tried to kill him? His expression goes tense again, the levity around him seeming to glance off him again like rain off crystal. "I wasn't myself," he says. "But I did. Yeah."

Perhaps sensing this mood change, or perhaps just having good timing, Jessica slips over to explain about how lucky he was to have missed New Coke. "What the hell is New Coke?" he asks, frowning. "And what's Orbitz?"

There'll be a lot of that kind of thing from James Buchanan Barnes: That Other Guy Also Out of Time.

While he's wondering this, he notices Rocket heading for the electronics pile. He sliiiides on over to Jane, who is still freaking out about Groot. "Is there anything important in that pile?"

When Groot gives his introduction, and even so much as extends a treed hand her way to take, Jane Foster's brown eyes go momentarily moist. For a moment she looks like she's going to cry, just break down right there on the spot she's so damn touched, before her mouth hurriedly steals into a smile and she takes that huge hand with her own. Her head spins. This is so amazing. Look at what she's doing this is so amazing. Asgardians don't count, not at all, way too human-looking and not at all alien like this being before her. In her house, even! A being from space!

"Groot, right?" Jane chatters on, "I have so many questions! Like where do you come from? How do you travel? What is your society like! Customs? Laws? Politics? What system are you from? It's within this galaxy? Oh! You must have different names for all the stars! And —"

Dr. Foster, genius astrophysicist, still hasn't got it through her head about his limited vocabulary.

She only distracts away at Bucky's mild interruption, her eyes turned up at him. Jane gives him a bemused, semi-offended look. "What pile? What?" She turns her head. "What do you mean, is something— everything in there is important. Remember that battery idea I was telling you about? With a refuelling quantum state? That's— " Oh, she gets it. She notices Rocket on a beeline to appropriate her things. She considers that. Her eyes light up brighter, mouth stolen in a grin. Her voice lowers, excited: "James, look!"

The other alien is interested in her things!!

Jane bites her lip to try to contain herself. It's getting hard to. Some part of her realizes she's probably being a poor hostess, and there's other people talking, more she needs to pay attention to, and: "Wait, panties? Wait, space?"

"Be nice Rocket, we're guests!" A pause from Quill. "And its not like I could bring the Milano here!" He thinks about that statement though. "Well I could have, but it would have been hard to land on the roof." By the time he's done thinking though, Rocket has already wondered off and he glances over towards Bucky and Jane. "If there is anything important in there, it'll likely be explosive by the end of tonight."

Just saying.

A glance towards Groot and Jane and he just smirks. Yup. This was a good idea. "That means he likes you." He explains towards her. "And he's not going to give you an answer. You've pretty much heard all his vocabulary."

Kitty's repeated exclamations get his attention and he turns on her. "Hey I never met them before in my life, those bounty hunters! They wanted the gem-thing! Said it was Ronan's!" A pause again as he glances back to Rocket. "Man even after we killed him he's still giving us problems."

"Totally not a lie." he adds towards Jessica before he grins. "Yeah, that was a good party. And a good fight."

Again a bite of cupcake before he munches on it. "Does it really matter, man?" He asks with a grin. "They worked ta distract ya didn't they?" He pauses to chew for a bit. "Man, these are good, Kitty." Then back to Bucky again. "But yeah. Totally hers. You should ask her about em. When I'm not here to get slapped for it. Also you don't want to know what Orbitz were. They were just bad."

Then, because he knows Jane is about to fixate right on him he gives her something else to worry about. Or think on at least. "Yeah, I need to go to Tau Ceti for some repair and a checkup on the power core. Since its Bucky's fault it happened, was gonna get him to come with me for backup. Figured he might as well have you around to distract him so he doesn't try to shove me or Rocket out an airlock."

Rocket casts a flat look towards Jessica. "No." What the heck is 'kumbaya' anyway? "We were deciding whether or not to commit mass suicide," he finishes, completely deadpan. Then he turns to resume his perusal of the pieces of hardware Jane's got piled there. Parties were never his thing, but then usually they don't have things like this just Sitting There practically begging for him to make stuff.

"Typical, in't it, Quill? We save the galaxy and still get no breaks." He catches a bit of Jane's efforts to communicate with the bipedal tree, chuckling to himself. Oh, this'll be good. As he picks up the gutted screen of a tablet, he can't help but feel an odd chill go down his spine. Ugh, that feeling of being watched- but not just Watched, but Observed. He /hates/ that feeling. It harkens back to Unpleasant Times, to gross scientific experiments and pain, torment, and what made him, him. For a moment he works at ignoring the attention on him, pausing in his sorting of electronics, his shoulders hunched, his tail tensed. It's only once Jane pulls her attention away, speaking up again on a different subject, that he forces himself to resume his work, perhaps a touch bitterly.

Jessica's interjection is met with a laugh from Kitty. "Fine, a band of people intent on causing him harm and you," she amends. Taking a few bites of pizza, she sighs and shrugs her shoulders. Jane's complete and utter fascination with Groot is met with a grin and she lets that happen. Lockheed is just as easily curious about Jane. Also, perhaps, a little jealous that Groot is getting all the attention. Chittering, he climbs up to the top of Groot's head and perches there.

The look that Bucky gives her is one that she notices. It causes the grin and generally jovial - if exasperated - expression she has worn since arriving fade into a more neutral, perhaps even apologetic one. They came here to cheer people up and she's perhaps not helping with that. The explanation from Jessica as to who Bucky is and that he's missing quite a bit of time is met with a slow nod. "Ahh. Okay. So. Encino Man, but less extreme?"

Her attention shifts to Peter. "You said they weren't after the gem!" She retorts. "And who is Ronan?" There's a sigh and she just takes another bite of pizza. "You know. I shouldn't be surprised you just have someone's random panties in your jacket pocket. I really shouldn't," she mutters.

Question: what is personal space? Answer: not here, but that's okay!

Giving Tree likes hugs. They're nice. Especially when they're coming from people who don't usually show that kind of affection and warmth toward others. It's a pleasant surprise. He returns Jessica's hug with a hearty one of his own, kind of like if Chewbacca had bark instead of fur all over his body. "I am Groot."

Now, dealing with Jane is a whole 'nother story. While he smiles and shakes her hand, he's a little overwhelmed by the barrage of questions. Every short pause is punctuated with "I am" or "Groot" or even "I Groot??" because dang, he has to think about these things!

"Iii am Groot" is about all he can finally say after the metaphorical whirlwind breaks up, feeling a little winded himself. He doesn't mind if Lockheed takes over in regards of attention at this point, letting the little thing clamber all up on him like it's nothing.

Awww, Groot hugs. Jess hangs out there for a moment while she explains."Back in the late 80s Coke tried to introduce this new formula. It was really gross. They stopped making it just after I graduated from high school, but I don't know why it took them that long because nobody in their right mind wanted that shit," Jessica explains to Bucky. "This is the original formula, which is all anyone would buy. Orbitz is a travel web site; you plug in where you want to go and it helps you find the cheapest air fares and hotels." She's never even heard of any edible Orbitz's. Apparently for the best.

She watches Jane. She bites her lip again, trying not to laugh so hard she cries. She truly adores Jane Foster, and right now Jane Foster is truly being adorable. Though she is observant enough to note Rocket's reaction. "Glad you didn't do that," she says, sincerely. She finally withdraws from Groot. Now she puts a pizza slice on a paper plate, along with some breadsticks, and brings it over to him, setting it gently by his elbow. Then she withdraws to let him work. Perhaps sensing his mood, the phone moves on to some Offspring.

"So-mething like that," she tells Kitty, drawing out the words. And since she figures Bucky will need the explanation, she translates…

"2-star comedy movie about a cave man who was frozen in ice and who has to learn how to navigate the modern world." She'll just get in the habit of doing this every time a cultural reference comes out in this conversation.

Bucky's frown deepens as Quill just keeps going on about the panties. He ought to ask Jane about them. "Maybe I will," he says.

There's a pause, as they both regard Kitty. "Strawberries?" Bucky eventually inquires.

In turn, though, Bucky notices the way Kitty's grin falters down into something more somber at seeing his reaction. Feeling guilty about that, James shakes his head a little— it's fine— and shakes off the malaise.

He hears out Jessica's explanations rather intently. These are things he is aware of, distantly, via the many missions he has completed over the years— commonplace air travel, for example, is hardly a surprise to him the way it is to Steve— but it is still jarring to wrap his brain around all the many nuanced ways in which the world has changed as far as society and culture.

His attention is pulled back, however, when Quill says something about dragging him to Tau Ceti because it's his fault the ship needs a checkup on the core. Some small part of Bucky's brain is yelling at him to be super guilty about that too, but the rest of him—

"Space?" he asks.

And Jane does watch Rocket, in a way he doesn't like— a way she first does not realize, it not occurring to her that even all of her enthusiastic, academic wonder and bluster may be an unwanted, even uninvited thing… but she senses something amiss. The way his body language, even different from hers, seems to react with dislike. She notices that too, stopped for a moment, uncertain if there's something more she should do. Her eyes, for the moment, turn away.

For such an expressively-faced woman, Jane Foster does her best to rein in the disappointment at learning that Groot cannot speak more language past the 'I am' and 'Groot' variety. All of her questions. She has so many! Do alien cultures have constellations? That would be the one she wants to know most.

But the fact that Groot, even with those three words he knows, struggles to answer every one of her questions — Jane's eyes pinch with immediate adoration. She's touched. "Thank you, Groot," she says, meaning it, even if she'll never understand a single word of it. Her attention strays up, however, at the chirps and chatter of the little dragon among the living tree's branches, and still relentlessly curious, the woman answers Lockheed with an eager little wave. An alien dragon. She's adding it to last month's list of 'things that are officially possible and real', among: Magic, Demons, John Constantine having a girlfriend, Heaven/Hell, Bucky Barnes being right, and now? Purple dragons from space.

And speaking of space— that specific mention earns every last remaining bit of Jane Foster's attention. Enough that she's not even listening about the panties. "You're shitting me," she blurts, a little bit of life coming to her black-ringed, sleepless eyes. "James is going into space? I'm going into space? Tau Ceti has a confirmed system? I knew it. You realize how far away that is? We're going?"

Terrans. So backwater.

"I know right!" Quill comments to Rocket as he reaches for one of the Cokes. Lightly holding the drink in one hand he reaches up to twist the top right off. "You would think once we saved a whole planet those guys would stay away from us! Anyway!" He pivots slightly to aim the bottle just slightly at Kitty. "I said I didn't know if they were after the gem. Took me a bit to crack their computer. Anyway, Ronan was a Kree. Big shot in their hirearcy. Zelot and a pureblood and wanted this other planet, Xandar, to get blown up. Rocket came up with an amazing gun that could crack moons." A glance at Rocket. "Moons right?" Then back up at Kitty. "And we, though a brilliant plan of my own devising blew him up with his own power." A pause. "And Groot saved us all from dying."

That would be the short-short version.

His grin only grows though as he waggles the bottle at her. "Awwwwww, you jealous?" His eyes sparkle at that muttering from the mutant.

This is why he gets slapped all the time.

Did he know that Jane would be staring at Rocket, and that's why he decided to distract her? Or was it good timing. Quill isn't going to admit to either. "So much explanation to do. Kinda funny really." His eyes follow Jessica as she moves to offer food to Rocket, the grin hidden by him taking a drink. She's prickly, but she's also all gooey inside. Kinda funny that way.

The grin only grows though as he turns towards Bucky. "Raspberries." He adds in that same even tone, one shoulder raising and lowering in a shrug.

See previous comment about gaining slaps.

Raising his bottle to cure the thurst from the cupcakes he just shrugs slightly. Seemingly so nonchalant about it. "Well…yeah. Space. Shouldn't be that long a jaunt." A pause. "Hell might as well make it a real party, so everyone can be invited. But yeah. Space. I mean its no big deal."

For him at least.

"I'll just talk to Thor, I'm sure he'd be fine with it."

Rocket glances over his shoulder as Jessica comes over with food offerings. He sets whatever compilation of things he'd already managed to work together aside so he can grab a breadstick. "Well, we almost did, anyway. We're talking about facing some guy with a power gem that can destroy planets." He chews on the breadstick, jabbing it in Quill's direction as he picks up the rest, well, super-abridged version. "Moons," the raccoon confirms.

It's kind of funny hearing Bucky and Jane so enthralled with such simple words like 'space.' Terrans. They'd be eaten alive out there.

As Peter goes through a quick explanation of Ronan and the bounty hunters that are after the gem. She frowns as she takes in that information. There's some parts she believes - Groot saving everyone, Rocket coming up with a moon destroying gun - and others she does not - it all being a brilliant plan engineered by Peter. It all ends with rolled eyes and a dismissal of his question. Instead of answering, she tosses one of the cupcakes right at Peter, aiming to hit him right in the face with it. "Why are you talking about fruit?"

Lockheed, proud to now be the person Jane is paying attention to runs down Groot's arm in order to shake Jane's hand. He's a polite dragon, after all. He's grateful to Groot to letting him use the tree basically like a jungle gym. Or a dragon highway. Both.

"Everyone's going to space to party with an Asgardian?"

Someone slap a gold star on Groot for trying to answer things. He forgets that there's still a one-way language translation barrier up between him and everyone else. "I am Groot," he shrugs, giving Jane a lopsided tree smile. He already knows how it is to be misunderstood, so it's no big deal.

Onto that quick summarization of Guardian escapades, Groot chimes in with an "I am Groot!" that sounds way too happy to confirm that he did explode to keep everyone else from exploding.

Yup. Good times.

But for now, instead of doing anything else crazy, he's content to play the part of a living pet stand for Lockheed. Both of those choices sounds good.

Jessica hides a smile as space enters the conversation. She settles on the couch contentedly. Wonder. It really is a beautiful, rare thing. She's happy to see the wellspring of wonder has not been dried up and destroyed in one Jane Foster. As Peter says they'll make a party of it and it should only be a short jaunt, she asks, "Can I bring my sister, Trish? I think she'd seriously kill me if I went to space without her. She always complains nothing interesting ever happens to her, and that sounds…safe enough."

Of course. Jessica, who has never so much as been in a plane before, let alone a space ship, and has no idea what she's signing up for. If she did, she might not be so eager to sign up for hopping in anything that left the ground under any power other than her own.

She leans back, half-lidding her eyes. She listens to the stories, letting them wash over her. A half-smile plays over her face. She looks comfortable and content.

Though if she knew Peter was thinking of her as gooey she'd scowl the fiercest scowl of all the scowls she'd ever scowled.

"I don't know," Comes a drawl from Peter. "Is your sister hot?"

Of course that would be the first thing asked by the irredeemable Peter Quill. Entirely irredeemable. Before Jessica or Jane can reply he gets a pie in the face. Well cupcake in the face.


Icing. All over the place. "OH MY GOD ITS IN MY HAIR!!"

And he staggers backwards, just slightly to smack against the table.

…this is very likely setting the tone for just how this adventure will go.

Typical Guardians fare.

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