Groot's Day Out

March 19, 2018:

Against his better judgement, Groot goes out into the city on his own. Rocket also tries to be a good role model.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Agent Coulson, Kitty Pryde

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

NEW YORK: where the streets are either sleek, smart, or tough. Or a huge mess. But considering what goes on in the city, it's normally all of the above.

That doesn't seem to bother Groot, however. Being shorter than he's supposed to be has given him perspective. As he is now, he's inconspicuous. And portable, since that last fun and mostly accidental trip out of the country with Agent Coulson happened.

Which immediately means he's easier to lose if no one is paying close attention to him.

This is one of those times the Baby Groot decides to run off on his own, slipping past people at the Triskelion without detection like it's all one big game, ducking legs and failing to blend into the walls on the way out. Fortunately for him, no one ever thinks to look down to watch where they're going, ignoring the fact they could have kicked him in the head several times on his escape route.

But safety isn't the issue here. True escape is.

To be honest, Groot probably doesn't even make it very far outside of the area to adventure into the rest of the city proper. In fact, he gets distracted by something off to the side, his straight course suddenly swerving into a small portion of the greenery surrounding the building and its hangars.

And, after a minute passes, there's a high-pitched scream.

Let's be real, the Guardians are notorious for not paying attention if there's nothing of interest to pay attention to, or rather, if there's something else that clearly needs their attention more. Seriously guys, don't hire these people to be babysitters.

*CLANG* "Owww! Flarkin'-" Rocket rubs at his head, glaring down at the wrench that's fallen to the floor in his sudden haste to jerk out of the open paneling. He looks around then, recalling just why he'd had such a start in the first place. Eyes narrow and ears perk, and all at once he's launched himself clear of the quinjet, racing on all fours across the Triskelion. He darts past and between foot traffic with ease, practically bursting outside.

"GROOT?!" he shouts, looking around. Man, if he's imagining things, he is going to shoot someone.

Being shot at is par the norm. At least that's how it works out with the Guardians, anyway. But Rocket's ears don't lie to him: there really is a tiny scream ringing out from somewhere in the brush, rising, falling silent, then rising again, shifting in both volume and tone.

It's far from sounding like a lost, frightened child in unfamiliar territory. It also keeps rising, growing louder, rougher and more shrill once a 'thing' explodes out of the shrubs and leaves to dash past the raccoonoid some twenty-odd feet away. The blur scrabbles and bucks, wriggling into clearer view to reveal…Groot, dragging and half-running, his arms encircling the neck of an obscenely large rat.

The rat's origins are not important. It turns out Groot's screaming is a rage-filled battle cry of sorts, fueling his attempts to wrestle his newfound opponent to the ground.

"…………………….."

All tensed and ready to leap at someone and tear their face off one second, slumping in disbelief the next. That is Rocket right now as he watches Groot burst from the underbrush, riding a rat like a bucking bronco in one of them rodeo things. "…this is my life now," he sighs as he watches the angry tree tyke attempt to throw the poor rat off its own footing. There's really no bother to question about where the rat came from. It's New York.

"Hey, hey! Groot! Quit it! How many times do I have to tell you not to touch stuff like that! You don't know where it's been!" he shouts as he starts over towards the two.

With a mighty yet shriek-y roar, Groot uses all of his bodily strength to swing the rat down onto its side, letting it go the moment it hits the concrete. A weighty thump is followed by distressed squeaking as the rat tries to find its feet again, flailing about as Groot puffs his chest out in victory.

Rocket's yelling cuts into the little tree's 'win,' leaving him to blink. "I am Groot!" he shouts back, hopping as he turns to face his raccoon friend with open arms. He may have been flexing, but no one can really tell. And he obviously doesn't care about touching filthy things. Most children don't.

"Won against what? It's a rat," Rocket says, clearly unimpressed. "And no, don't touch me, you're all gross now. What're you doing out here by yourself anyway? I told you to stay inside. This definitely does not look like inside, now does it?"

The raccoonoid sets his fists at his hips, squaring the smaller Guardian with a look.

Gross? Groot looks at the rat, then at himself. He sees nothing wrong, but he frowns at how unimpressed Rocket is with his wrestling technique. "I am Groot," he huffs, letting his arms go limp before imitating the fuzzy Guardian's stance as best as he can. He barely holds a candle to it.

After a pause, he looks over a shoulder, awkwardly dropping the pose as he turns halfway. "I am Groot," he says, pointing out and away from where the Triskelion is. Toward the city. "I am Groot?"

Rocket snorts, letting his own stance loosen. "Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that," he smirks. Turning, he looks to be ready to head back inside, fully expecting to be accompanied. Instead, he's pausing as Groot suggests something else.

"What, you wanna go sightseeing?" Well, can he blame the little guy? Netflix and popcorn aside, it probably got real boring sitting around while everyone was doing adult things. "…fine. Lemmee go grab my guns. You stay right there and wait for me, okay?" Rocket directs, pointing Groot.

He's not even sure how long it's been since the last outing. Not like he really cared - the amount of digital entertainment he's gone through kept him pretty preoccupied.

But Groot perks up, bouncing in place now that Rocket is going along with his half-baked plans. "I am Groot!" he chirps, nodding his head with vigor.

"Good. Don't. Move." Not that Rocket doesn't trust Groot. Then again, it's because he knows how even the older Groot acted that he tries very much to cement this concept of waiting here.

With each word emphasized with a point at the ground, Rocket turns with a nod and heads back into the Triskelion to grab a few things, his guns, a backpack, maybe a jacket…

Although his head tilts slightly to the right, it seems Groot understands the meaning of the last two words Rocket leaves him with. He stands there, waving, then straightening up as tall as he possibly can, watching his friend go back toward the Triskelion.

And he waits.

And waits.

And…waits.

Not even ten seconds go by before Groot finds himself rocking on his stumpy heels, bored out of his little Groot mind. He tries to remain where he is, taking a few steps from where he originally stood, then pausing to try staying in place again. But it doesn't take long for his attention to wander, picking up on the flight pattern of some birds in the sky. He's not even sure what birds they are, but they're flying. And that's neat.

Following with the eyes is not enough. His feet start moving as well, slowly picking up into a toddling speed as he wanders further from where he's supposed to wait. He's not fully aware of the fact of his failure to follow direction, but that doesn't concern him in the slightest.

And the moment Rocket returns, he will find there is no Groot patiently waiting for his arrival.

"….I knew I shoulda ducttaped him to the floor."

The raccoonoid grumbles under his breath, returning outside with his stuff in tow, pack slung over a shoulder, guns stuffed into holsters, the tops barely hidden by the length of the jacket he's thrown on. He looks around, squinting as he takes a sniff at the air, and then does he bound off in search of his shrunken tree companion.

Who knows how far he's run off. How long it takes him to run over there, for that matter. But he does get there, taking the lower, scenic route of all things into:

THE CITY.

And it is smelly.

To Groot, it's all very interesting smells. It's like he's not sure whether to be disgusted or intrigued to taste whatever comes up past his hidden nostrils. Plant life in the city is confined to certain layouts, but his own tree scent starkly contrasts with the smog and exhaust from the cars on the streets, with the people who walk around or over him as they go on about their day in a rush.

Thankfully, his senses have been overwhelmed enough to keep him standing in the middle of the sidewalk with huge, dark eyes glued onto a large storefront window displaying cupcakes.

Lots and lots of cupcakes.

Groot was too tiny to get any real distance on Rocket, or at least that's what the other Guardian hoped as he ran along. It's hard tracking Groot in the city; there's way too many smells competing with each other and overlaying one another. His senses may be sharp on some ends, but Rocket's not a dog, and he loses Groot's trail pretty quick.

Unfortunately there's a decided lack of screaming as well, so that wouldn't help by way of clues. Maybe he should have worked on a Groot-tracker instead of an alien signal tracker.

"It's probably fine…" he mutters to himself, however looking very unconvinced about it. If he were Groot, where would he go…? Lifting his head, Rocket looks beyond…and sighs, shoulders sagging. "I have no frikkin' idea…"

Now a little closer, small hands lift and press onto the bottom half of the window. Of course, the display is now at a steeper angle and much harder to look at because Groot had not taken into account how short he was in comparison with the display blocks. A frustrated grunt accompanies his hopping in place, trying in vain to get back the view he had earlier in the middle of the sidewalk.

"I…am…Groot!" His voice is easily lost among the ambiance as a police siren blares, creating some commotion as the vehicle zooms through an intersection.

Never mind the fact he's only across the street and a block further from where Rocket is. He's too busy trying to problem-solve his way into the store.

The sound of police sirens wailing draws Rocket's attention, his head turning to glance down the street. The flashing lights disappear past the line of buildings, however the raccoonoid's eyes are drawn to smaller movement just a little inward from the passing cop car.

"…Groot!" Rocket snaps, eyes narrowing before widening as he spots the tree tot. He starts to race down the street.

About this time a group of young men saunter out of one of the near alleyways beside the shop in question. They're dressed in typical street grunge style, as much as can be allowed for the yet nippy weather. "Hey, feel like havin' a lil' somethin' sweet?" one of them asks the rest, smirking as he starts to wander up to the shop doors. The others snicker, elbowing each other in pseudo-conspiratory fashion as they follow.

"Heh! What's this thing? A mutie?" Another of them spots Groot and moves closer.

"Gross…"

Oh good! Groot brightens. He can just sneak through the opening once the door is held open-

Except his path is blocked by some of the customers (or tourists, perhaps) hurrying out or leisurely entering the shop itself. This becomes more of a problem when the grunge group takes interest in him at the same time.

Groot is caught between hearing his name being called out somewhere and these guys eyeing him, locking his alien gaze with the one who called him 'Gross.' He has no idea what a 'mutie' is, but being called 'gross' is not cool. "I am Groot!" he says, a simmering anger filling his baby facial features.

Another one laughs in his surprise. "Oh man, it talks!" He hoots, lightly punching his friend in the arm a few times. "Did you hear that?!"

"The hell's a groot? Is it a toy or something?" The man sticks a foot out to nudge the little tree person over. "Maybe we can keep it as a pet!"

"An ugly pet!" guffaws the one who'd initially suggested the detour. He swipes a foot at Groot too. "I don't know why you like such weird things, Frank. What if it's some runaway experiment?"

"Looks wood. Maybe it burns?"

Feet, too many feet. The shrub tries pushing back, but is no match for the force of each nudge. "I am Groot!" he now shouts, irritated by the treatment he's receiving.

"Burns?" The word is repeated through stifled juvenile laughter. A lighter is produced, held out for grabs. "Let's see if it does!"

As angry as he is, Groot does feel the impending doom of the last statements. He claws at the shoes barricading him in, scrabbling over one in order to escape. "I am Groot!!"

"Hey idiots!"

The shout doesn't come from any of those currently ganging up on the little Grootling. The laughter abruptly ceases as a confused look is exchanged before a couple of heads yank in the direction of the new voice.

Rocket stands not ten feet away, both of his guns cocked and aimed at the group. The sight may be slightly comical, but the guns despite their distinctly bulky and non-standard Earth design look like they could prove very painful. The Guardian taps his fingers on the triggers testily.

"So I can understand that you Terrans are terribly prone to makin' some really terrible mistakes. Now, in an effort to be a positive role model as Kitty claims I'm nothin' like, I'm not going to flat out shoot you. In fact, I'll give you to the count of ten-"

"It's a mutant raccoon!"

"…-three," Rocket reconsiders, his toothy grin twitching slightly at the corners before pulling upwards again in a none too nice expression. "With a demonstration." Before the men can say anything more, he aims one of the guns over at a dumpster across the way and pulls the trigger, the red shot scoring a hole into its beaten sides. Smoke rises. Rocket grins again and then reaims his guns.

"Two."

The one that laughs too much for his own good isn't laughing anymore. Instead, he shrieks when Rocket shoots at the dumpster, backing into one of his friends in feeble self-defense. His lighter goes flying off into the street, plinking metallically across the way.

Groot, however, is relieved to see his raccoon friend there, guns blazing. "I am Groot!"

"-IT, man! That's the REAL THING, man- !!"

Meanwhile, onlookers and passerbys are confused as to what's going on. A tourist group stands off to one side as a few of its members take out their phones for photo and video documenting. Someone else wonders aloud if there was a movie being filmed in the area.

"Craaaaaapcrapcrapcrap let's get outta here!" One gives a shove to another, an abrupt decision to turn tail that although likely reached in decision by the whole party ended up clumsily executed as one stumbled over another, hands brushing the sidewalk as he continues to propel himself towards the street and past the tourists to put as much distance between the raccoonoid with the scary guns and himself as possible.

"…bwahahaahaha!" Rocket laughs as they race off, twirling his guns before slamming them back into their holsters. Then he shoots a look at Groot. "YOU! I tol' ya to wait, didn't I???"

The tourists try to get out of the way, shoved and murmuring among themselves as the grunge group escapes. A car almost hits one of them on the way out of an alley, furious horn-honking ensuing. But it seems clear that there is nothing else exciting going on now. It's back to their regularly scheduled programming.

Dusting himself off, the brief smile on the Grootling falters the moment he turns to face his raccoon babysitter, its corners drooping downward in a split second. Somewhere in the back of his tiny Groot mind, he knows Rocket is right. Going off on his own isn't the greatest idea and he would've been in a lot more trouble if he didn't get help.

His face screws up even more as he nods, a large tear drop sneaking out of the corner of one black eye.

Rocket casts a look back towards the dispersing tourists, shaking his head before looking back down at Groot. He rolls his eyes. "Ugh, don't do that. That's a dirty trick, you know? Anyway, more importantly, you didn't get hurt."

He steps over and scoops up the tree tyke. "All right, so what the heck were you doing out here anyway before those slimeballs tried to torch you?"

Being scared sucks. Having the emotional capacity of a toddler is even worse. Reaching up for Rocket's scooping, Groot immediately buries his face into his shoulder and furry neck. "Ih am Grooft," comes a muffled reply.

He tries pointing at the window he was looking into earlier, but his angle may be off. Still, the cupcakes are on his mind.

Patting Groot awkwardly on his tiny back, Rocket just sighs, although inwardly he's relieved that he'd gotten to the little guy before anything bad had happened.

He glances over his shoulder as Groot points, snorting as he turns about to face the cupcake shop. "Tch. Figures. Well, come on. Since we're here…" he says as he steps up to the door. Hopefully the owner won't flip out about a couple of unusual customers.

Unusual customers, but customers all the same. The shop owner makes it a point to help them herself. This includes telling them that they may need to go as soon as they have everything. One of her employees saw what happened and called the police, but traffic is slowing them down.

Groot has no problem with the arrangement. As soon as he calms down, he quietly points at the ones he wants. Along with that, the lady is nice enough to give them one free assortment box.

Well, they probably did them a favor by chasing off some unruly lowlives anyway. Rocket's nevertheless surprised by the generosity and pays for Groot's selections on top of the freebies.

"There. Happy now?" he asks as they step outside again. "Now how's about we head back to the Trisket before anything else happens?"

That indeed is going into the report. A 'good citizen,' for lack of a better word, helped them out and kept the street safe.

Satisfied, Groot nods, giving his little smile and a wave at the lady as they exit the shop. "I am Groot," he replies, ready to go back home to eat and sleep off the day's events.

Probably for the better, too; there are still plans he has in mind, but those will have to be plotted with his caretakers later.

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