What the Hell is Bear Herpes?!

November 26, 2017:

Luke and Owen catch up on their respective bear attacks. Luke offers to help, Owen is a dick about it. Oh and there might be a demonic version of an STD goin' round.

Luke's Bar

It could be any other bar in New York. It's rather unassuming, built into the corner of the ground floor of an aging brickwork building with apartments above.
A set of glass paned doors lead off the vestibule, opening up into a long and skinny main room that's taken up with a J-shaped bar, while small tables dot what little open floor there is. The left wall is comprised of multi-paned windows bifurcated by white metal blinds, blazed with the occasional neon sign sporting this beer or that booze. The bar itself has a draft station and pair of speed wells along with a myriad of multicolored bottles that are shelved against a mirrored wall. The bathrooms and access to the office and cellar are at the back.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Emery Papsworth, Jessica Jones, Danielle Moonstar, Stephen Strange, Zatanna Zatarra (not named, but referenced), Danny Rand, Elektra (not named, but referenced)

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

With more than one encounter with an evil demon bear and variety of assorted evil animals that are apparently hell bent on destroying him Owen has not exactly been sleeping well. That combined with the fact that he has a vast array of bandages, wraps on his hands, wrapped ribs, etc. mean that he looks frankly, like hell himself. And still he's here at the bar, it's early in the evening and the place is quiet, even for a Sunday night. Though Owen might look like crap, his clothes are oddly a bit nicer than normal, a crisp oxford shirt and newer looking dark jeans. Maybe being mistaken for homeless actually had an impact on him.

Pouring a drink for one of the few patrons, Owen is also uncharacteristically quiet. No wisecrack or conversation starter. No, it's near silent beer pouring, sliding and then back to leaning against the back of the bar and apparently contemplating the ceiling in all of its splendor. Good thing it's a slow night, he doesn't look up for handling a fast one.

*

"It's always slow the Sunday after Thanksgiving." Luke rumbles as he ambles in from the back, likely choosing to come in from the entrance where the street level opens up into the basement, which his how he usually processes deliveries. The man looks like hell, even though he's fit as a fiddle physically. It's in his eyes, the way they seem shadowed more than normal and bloodshot. "People are traveling or trying to recover enough to crawl to work tomorrow. Just the few die hards still trying to clear the sting of seeing family. Or not." He ambles behind the bar, plucking up a glass to fill with water from the tap.

*

Hearing the doors opening and closing, Owen stands up and bit and responds "Hey boss. Yea.. it's dead." He gets a good look at Luke and narrows his eyes a bit, noticing the fact that he doesn't look like his usual hearty self. He gives a soft laugh at the part about seeing family.

"What about you? Good holiday? Looks like you either had a really good or a pretty crappy one." Maybe he's just super hung over from a raging good time? Orrr…

*

"Oh, I saw family alright. Just not how any man should." It's like the one patron sitting at the bar can sense some sort of tension rippling off Luke, and the man takes his beer and decides it's better to go sit by the window to finish it. "You got my note about your 'friend' right?" For being a mass populated metropolis, the one thing that NYC has going for it, is that the water from its pipes tastes better than bottled most of the time. Luke gulps it now, finishing his glass and moving to refill it already like he's been in the desert for days. "Guess that explains why it looks like you started you own person Fight Club since you've been hired."

*

"Yea.. " It drops off slowly. "You're okay though? I mean.. considering." Well, he's standing, not trapped in a nightmare realm and not covered in maggots, those are all good things though. He idly rubs at his hands at just the thought of the maggots.

"How did you know it was .. ? Did /she/ tell you she was after me?" Weird that in all of this Owen seems more pissed at the woman than the bear, but the way he says 'she' is pretty vitriolic for a pronoun.

Yes, Owen realizes that he probably owes Luke some sort of explanation, but he really doesn't know terribly much. This is not at all what kind of trouble he imagined following him, and wasn't even aware of it when he interviewed. But now he's knee deep in demon animals and soul eating and bagel stealing and.. "But yea. I got fu*&$ed up by some crazy demon bear, it wasn't personal.. but… maybe, now it is?" The last part is accompanied by a shrugging open hand gesture with raised eyebrows. Maybe, he accidentally made it personal?

*

"First her crows did, so that was fun, but yeah, she mentioned you by name. So you've got that going for you. I'd ask if it was some pissed off ex-girlfriend. Met one of those in Wakanda. But her hard-on doesn't seem to be just for you according to Jessica Jones who apparently you know as well." Which is Luke more sour about? The bear bitch or the Jones connection? Sort of hard to tell, really. "She made me promise not to yell at you." Well, not directly, but apparently to Luke Jess appealing to his morality is basically the same thing.

*

"Oh God… those crows." He puts both hands to his face and wipes down "Those are super fun.." But if there were Crows.. why doesn't he have any maggots? Maybe Luke is even more of a badass than he looks, which is saying something.

"No, as far as I know.. she's just pissed I tried to stop her from stealing some chick's soul? … It didn't work. Oh, and she didn't like that I killed her birds."
Hist the mention of Jessica, Owen half turns and quirks an eyebrow. He more than catches the tone and runs a hand through his hair as he tries to piece it together. "Jessica?" And when he gets to the part about not yelling. "Are you sure she said not to yell? That … doesn't sound right. I would expect much yelling. Maybe a slap? .. Yea, I mean a slap sounds about right."

Owen narrows his eyes, "She told you we got her involved… I don't know why. But the slutty butler knew her and apparently thought she'd be backup? Things.. " How should he put this? ".. went to shit. Seriously? /Not/ to yell?" That still doesnt' seem right.

*

Luke's arms fold over his chest, but instead of a gesture of annoyance or ire like it normally does, this time it just seems …tired. "If Jessica actually ever raised a hand to you in violence, it'd be because she'd be in fear of her life. And then so help you, she better put you behind bars or I'd put you in the ground." It's not really a threat, he's too tired for threats, mainly it more to get across the point that Jessica's not really the slapping kind. "I don't know what you got yourself into, but I'll make sure you get out. One way or the other."

*

Titling his head, Owen quirks an eyebrow again as Luke tries to stress how powerful Jess is, and how much Luke would mess him up if he crosses her. "First, I've probably been slapped by worse." He considers it for a second "That sounds like a weird thing to brag about. But, trust me. And got it, no crossing Jones. Wasn't planning on it." He doesn't look intimidated, more like he would rather not deal with more people trying to stomp him into the ground because it's bothersome.

When Luke offers help, Owen holds up a hand in a stop motion. "Wait. Hold up." He turns now to face Luke and says "You don't owe me shit. And I ain't even apologized for somehow roping you into this. So stick the noble sh-.." Woops, boss. Owen walks it back a little bit.

He lets out a small sigh and tries again. "I appreciate you not getting pissed about this, but I don't need your help, and I don't want to get you any more involved in this."

*

"Like I said, I've got my own messes I'm dealing with." There is one shelf brace that doesn't have a lot of things tacked to it, no pictures or memorabilia. Clearly this is where Luke tends to lean, as he scoots over slightly to do so now. "And while I know you're a big boy and can take care of your own - been punched by worse - I'm just letting you know there's a network of people out there who are going to do what they can, where they can. Because like I said, it's not just you that's getting mind fucked, but whatever seems to be crossing her path. And there is a whole lot of Harlem in her path."

*

Owen knows his bristling at the offer of help is stupid, but knowing something and doing something about it, are two separate things. "You got magic powers Luke, big time wizard are ya? Lots of demon hunting experience you're drawing on here?" Yea, Owen doesn't really have that either but he's also not sure how to deal with someone else getting hurt on his behalf. Literally, he hasn't had to deal with that, even in his extensive 'team' experiences. So he wants to push back.

"Irish is already in this. It's personal for him, so he wants to hunt tha' bitch down, fine. You want to protect Harlem? Good. Do that. I don't need your help."

With that Owen pushes off from the back of the bar with a more subdued, "I'm taking a smoke break.." Lord knows he needs one, and who knows maybe he will calm down and be reasonable. But it's not super likely since Owen is an idiot. A well-meaning one, but still.

*

"I could shoot lightning bolts outta my ass for all you know!" Luke's raised voice follows after Owen, but he lets the man take his smoke break. If there is one thing the bar owner has learned is you don't come between a man and his nicotine. Or the fact that he has to use nicotine as an excuse from time to time.

*

There is much grumbling to himself, amongst the smoking. Owen even speeds through a first cigarette, ironically to calm himself down. He shakes his head. Finally after a second cigarette smoked in real time, as slowly as possible, Owen is ready to get himself back together. He heads back into the bar and after a sigh, he asks "Can you? Because I would love to be around every time you have to explain to someone that you in fact shoot lightning out of your ass. Also, I would want a demo.. for scientific reasons."

*

"Most worthless super power ever." Luke mutters down to a sink full of suds. Sure, Owen didn't leave any dirty glasses, but much like the new bartender, Luke had to do something to calm down and taking care of his baby - the bar - tends to have that effect. The crowd is thin and self-occupied, so Cage doesn't seem the harm in continuing the conversation at low levels. "Bad enough I have replace my shirts and shit all the time, can't imagine having to replace my drawers every time I have a literal blow out." At least his tone is lighter, even vaguely amused at the notion.

*

Chuckling now, Owen takes his place behind the bar again. He reaches up behind his neck and after making sure no one is in earshot, says "But seriously, you did say you were a meta too.." He does a small 'so' motion with his hands, "So, please tell me you can shoot lasers out of somewhere. Or I don't know, re-soul people?"

He realizes that it sounds like he's already relenting. "Not that I'm sayin I want help. I still think getting more people involved in this is dumb.. but at the very least you deserve to not be surprised if a stupid demon song bird or giant demon wolf show up. It's more than just a bear." Yea.. heads up?

*

Luke flicks a glance up, getting a visual tabs on everyone in the bar before he slips the knife off the cutting board they use to slice fresh fruit. With his back to the rest of the bar, he slides up his shirt with the palm of one hand to expose a swath of abdomen. And then proceeds to stab himself in it.

Stab, of course, the intent but the result is Luke just holding up a knife now bent at a ridiculous angle and his skin not so much as pock marked from the ordeal. "She made me lose my dead wife all over again. I'm past surprise."

*

Owen tilting his head to the side gets more confused as Luke starts pulling up his shirt, and getting a knife? Where is this? OH… "Oh. So that explains the distinct lack of devil crow maggots. Luck-.." In the midst of calling him lucky Luke brings up what nightmares he endured, which elicits another "Oh" Owen considers that against his own experience and gets as far as "Shit. Sorry."

Considering that, and knowing his response to what Dani showed him, Owen relents. "If that's why you want to punt this Ursa Major pain in the ass back to hell, I'm good with that. Just… don't do me any favors." Did he just give Luke permission to help? Owen is kind of a dink.

*

Luke chucks the knife at the trash bin perhaps a little harder then necessary, the bent and useless thing causing a loud CLANG! before it rattles down with the rest of the refuse. "She can't be faced head to head again, it's pointless. Brawn and sheer determination aren't going to cut it, and unfortunately that's sort of my gig. So she's going to have to be taken down the smart way…and Jess sent an email that we now might all have Bear Herpes?" The bald man shakes his head.

*

"Well it's going to take people smarter than me.." Yea, Owen left himself wide open there but he clarifies "Or at least Dr. Steve the magic dude. But he's apparently had no such luck. I mean, at least he can heal the fuckin maggots." Yea, that's kind of a sticking point for Owen, but seriously it was super gross, it's hard to blame him.

"We laid a trap. But didn't know about the bird or the wolf.. we needed better logistics, and likely some magic-fu of our own, more than Sassmaster Jeeves could provide anyway. And I never got to use my laser trap.. which sucks."

Realizing that he may have been rambling, Owen then quickly shakes his head and says "WHAT?! I did not fuck that bear! Why does everyone keep suggesting that? Angel Tats McTitShot is the one that tried to shove his tongue down her throat.. kind of. What the hell is Bear Herpes?!" COME ON!! He already had maggots and the nightmares and the fact that he's maybe abusing the pain killers he got the Squad doctors to fork over. He does not need demonic venereal diseases! Wait, does anyone? Danielle Moonstar does, and she already has bear herpes: Good.

*

Despite everything Luke is wiping away a smile by dragging a hand down his face, "Something about the possibility that we might have had our souls compromised while she was tinkering in our upstairs, and that we need to get checked by this Emery fellow. No offense to the guy, he's supposedly good for Rand, but the more I hear his name the more seriously annoyed I get. At least I'm assuming it's the same Emery."

*

Realizing that he might have been a bit loud there, Owen quiets down some. Not that anyone over hearing him yelling would understand any of it, but it might give people the wrong idea.. or the right idea. He deflates a little bit as he realizes what Luke means, "Oh, shit. Well my soul's fine. I'm guessing the bear was all 'Aaaah, haaaeeelll no. Pass.'" Is the bear a drag queen in this scenario? It's not clear. Maybe.

"I think Emery would have mentioned if I picked up anything. And Dr. Steve Strange also did some.. mumbo jumbo shit that helped clear up other stuff. I'm probably in the clear."

Again, this is more musing almost to himself, trying to convince himself he doesn't have the bear herpes. "Emery? Yea.. good dude. Don't know if you'd like him much.. he'd certainly /like/ you." With a small waggle of his eyebrow Owen mock checks out Luke. "But he's managed to survive this thing a few times… he's got a weird .. Irish Catholic ninja butler thing goin. "

*

"He'd be barking up the wrong beautiful black tree." Luke's hands smooth the shirt down on his chest, like he's pressing out wrinkles. "But just because you're in the clear doesn't mean I'm not. Though what I can tell, all in all, I didn't have it as bad as the rest of you folks because her arrows didn't do shit to me and the crows never got close." Suddenly his finger snaps. "That's why she was looking for you, you said you killed one right? Well, she left a dead one when she spit me back out of the shadow …thing. Must've been your message."

*

Laughing a bit as Luke smoothes his shirt Owen nods, having figured from the earlier mention of Jessica and an ex-wife that Luke might be less than interested. "Her normal arrows are just that. No threat. The energy arrows.. " Owen does his best not to shutter, instead just grits his teeth ever so slightly. "Suck. Some sort of mental KO shit. So we probably need a telepath. Cause I'm guessing you ain't immune to that? I know Emery and I both weren't" No sarcastic nickname this time, a little too distracted by the nightmare that he can still feel and hear at times.

"Crows? She mentioned she liked 'em. But I killed .. a fuckin bunch of 'em. Hell I used one like a hammer tha first time. Didn't realize they had some crazy voodoo claws though. Weird…" He's trying to figure out why they matter? They seemed liked disposable minions. Maybe they are more like pets?

"You mentioned others. Seems like we might need others."

*

"Jess is doing some legwork, talking to some wizard friends she knows." The way he says Wizard makes it sound as if Luke hasn't really warmed up to the idea that those exist, but then again then again, an acquaintance calls himself The Immortal Iron First, so wonders never seem to cease. "So far I've just seen them put a hoagie into a phone and teleport me from Africa to Harlem, so. We'll see what they come up with." A pause. "A hammer, huh?"

*

"I didn't have any boomerangs." Yes, that's Owen's defense for using a demon bird as a hammer. But really, without some weapon to wield he was in dire straits. "Did Jess mention the boomerangs?" He realizes that might need some clarification. Oh God, that's not really a can he meant to open right now. And despite what drunk Owen might proclaim, he still thinks the gimmick thing feels out of place. "Nevermind." And belated he realizes that Jess wouldn't have said anything. Not so much professional courtesy, but more than Owen got the sense that she was rooting for him, and wouldn't have brought up his past without damn good reason.

Moving on he is about to address the hoagie in a phone or teleporting when he instead decides "Yea. Sounds about right. Whacky magic fuckers."

*

Boomerangs? There is just a slight narrow of Luke's eyes as he tries to suss that one out from things said and left unsaid, but he must decide it's just not worth the headache at the moment. He's lifting a hand to rub the wrinkles out of his brow, which form little peaks and valleys all the way up to his nonexistent hair line. "Shit just keeps getting weirder and weirder." He finally declares, just shaking his head incredulously. "Look man, I have to head upstairs and get some more reading done. You good here?" He asks, but he's already moving towards the door, so the answer better be yes.

*

"Go. Go, I'm good." Owen waves off his boss and turns his attention back to the nearly empty bar.

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