It's the Great Flaming Rooster Spirit, Luke Cage

July 30, 2018:

Not to be confused with the Great Pumpkin. Backscene, takes place prior to the Hell's Kitchen bombings. Constantine's attempts to imbue Luke's Bar with a friendly hearth spirit brings a little something extra to the building.

Luke's Bar, Harlem

Some people think it's a bit touched.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna Zatara, Owen Mercer, Danny Rand

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The apartment building is coming along at a clipped pace now, with the outer brick work done, the electricity run, and the major systems in place. The crews have been slapping up walls in the apartments now, and the blank floors are turning into one, two and three bedroom homes for future residents. Right now the construction is quiet, however, with Union rules to adhere to. As soon as it hits 5 o'clock, tools are put away and the building clears out. Still, it's not until the sun has set over Manhattan that Luke and Jess have set a time to meet Constantine in the basement of the building, just in case something goes awry with trying to tame the spirit that's going to make itself cozy in the furnace. Luke is sitting on top of a stack of cinderblocks, sipping coffee from a paper cup emblazoned with the logo of a local deli, propped high enough that his long legs can actually dangle so that the heels of his boots bump against concrete. It's the only sign he has a bit of trepidation about this whole thing.

*

Jessica has picked a wall to prop herself against. She looks up with some skeptical amusement at Luke's cinderblock routine. "It's going to go fine," she says. "John wouldn't steer you wrong. I trusted him with my head, you can trust him with your building."

Granted, she hasn't really gone into many details about it, the magic that John worked on her noggin. As in. This is practically the first time she's mentioned she had him do anything to her head. But Luke just looks so much like an overgrown nervous child up there that she has to say something.

She's got her hands in her pockets, absolutely blase by way of sharp contrast.

*

If asked, most of John's contemporaries would say that he has incredible timing. John would agree. Of course, John would say that his timing is incredible because he tends to be exactly where he needs to be at exactly the time he needs to be there, whether he wants to be or not; his colleagues, on the other hand, would say that he turns up at whatever the least convenient moment is, with information that nobody wanted in the first place.

To-may-to, to-mah-to.

All of which is to say: he's late, today. He arrives via less conspicuously magical means than the last time he paid Luke a visit here, though he looks anything but happy about that, grousing as he hauls himself out of a Lyft from which the cheerful, cotton-candy sound of Danish-Norwegian electropop is playing at top volume. Someone is a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world, and it's most definitely not John. For any denizen of Barbie World to achieve the look on his face — as he pushes his way into the building and begins to descend the stairs — they'd have to be left face-down outside on hot pavement in the depths of a particularly bad Las Vegas summer.

He's carrying an old-world lantern in one hand that appears to be lit, and it throws warm light on both he and the walls, painting his shadow on the wall of the basement. "You think the subway's cocked up because of Hell's Kitchen, you ought to have a look at the astral space 'round it," he tells them, as though they asked. "It's going to be months before anybody can cross town that way without running the risk of getting broadsided by another dimension." The breath he pushes out of his lungs is tight, annoyed, but it seems to take some of his tension with it. "Right, then. Got your furnace all ready to go, have you?"

*

If asked, most of John's contemporaries would say that he has incredible timing. John would agree. Of course, John would say that his timing is incredible because he tends to be exactly where he needs to be at exactly the time he needs to be there, whether he wants to be or not; his colleagues, on the other hand, would say that he turns up at whatever the least convenient moment is, with information that nobody wanted in the first place.

To-may-to, to-mah-to.

All of which is to say: he's late, today. He arrives via less conspicuously magical means than the last time he paid Luke a visit here, though he looks anything but happy about that, grousing as he hauls himself out of a Lyft from which the cheerful, cotton-candy sound of Danish-Norwegian electropop is playing at top volume. Someone is a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world, and it's most definitely not John. For any denizen of Barbie World to achieve the look on his face — as he pushes his way into the building and begins to descend the stairs — they'd have to be left face-down outside on hot pavement in the depths of a particularly bad Las Vegas summer.

He's carrying an old-world lantern in one hand that appears to be lit, and it throws warm light on both he and the walls, painting his shadow on the wall of the basement. "You think subway cockups are a trial, you ought to see what happens in astral space whenever some pillock decides to muck about with leylines," he tells them, as though they asked. "Somebody in Midtown was sacrificing goats trying to get first-row tickets for Hamilton. Bloody didn't work, because there are some things even magic can't get you, and now the whole area's arse-over-elbows. It's going to be months before anybody can cross town that way without running the risk of getting broadsided by another dimension." The breath he pushes out of his lungs is tight, annoyed, but it seems to take some of his tension with it. "Right, then. Got your furnace all ready to go, have you?"

*

Bouncing his feet is better than absentmindedly crumbling the excess building materials at hand? But at least he stops even that at Jess' words, giving her a noncommittal reply of, "Mmph." Though Luke is looking at her with slightly narrowed eyes now, as if he's trying to detect some sort of anomaly about her that he hadn't noticed before. 'Did you get a new haircut, babe?' 'Nah, some wizard dude put a lock on my brain'. To be fair, it happened before they started dating, so there's that. Doesn't stop him from trying to /see/ it.

His head swivels towards Constantine as he enters, but for all that the magic man says about Hamilton and subways and dimensions, the first comment out of Cage's mouth is, "Next you're going to tell us the British are coming." It's rather flat, but he's pretty good at hiding a lot behind that stoic bullet proof face when he wants. Like the fact that Jessica's words did little to calm his nerves when it comes to magic. "Yeah, good to go, man."

*

"Cage," Jess says with a snort. "He is British."

She pushes off the wall, apparently completely used to John's rants. "Where do you even get live goats to sacrifice in Midtown? Actually I don't want to know. Thanks for doing this, John."

She draws a little closer to said furnace, ever-curious about magic even if she's got more than enough sense to avoid trying to do magic. But then, she's pretty much curious about everything, at the end of the day. And she's certainly never seen John sing up a spirit before.

*

Next you're going to tell us the British are coming.

John's brow angles up, his forward momentum toward the furnace in question only briefly arrested. He snaps his arm out and bends his wrist back toward himself, sleeve of his coat and shirt hiked back by the gesture so that he can glance down at the watch on his wrist with sharp, blue eyes. His head tilts one way, then the other, eyes angled ceilingward. Calculating timezones. "Some, surely," he agrees, and then picks up precisely where he left off, shooting Jess a brief, wry glance as he sets the lit lantern down on the nearest available horizontal surface.

"It hasn't got a name and doesn't need one. You can call it whatever you like, I expect, but it won't care one way or another. It's not alive the way we think of things being alive, alright? Just…keep in mind what I told you, and you'll be fine. Don't let the bloody furnace go out, leave it little bits of things to play with now and again — it's not needy."

He reaches for the lantern, flips open the side that grants access to the wick, and the light winks out instantly. Fast eyes might catch a glimpse of something like heat shimmer darting out of the lantern, toward the furnace.

Silence.

John…turns to go. Begins to ascend the stairs, even. "Invoice is in the mail, and that," he says. Like that's…it. Like that was the whole thing.

It's supposed to be. And then, from upstairs, comes the sound of glass tinkling as something breaks.

John stops. Two, three seconds later, he bows his head, the line of his shoulders expanding around a huge breath he pulls in, and exhales as the world's most put-upon sigh.

*

Luke was about to slides some innuendo in there but John beats him to it. Respect, man. There's a nod there in appreciation, even if the comment doesn't elicit a laugh or crack of smile. He then plants his palms into his cinder blocks and hops off their stack. Concrete dust whitens his palms, and he's wiping them off on the seat of his jeans as he joins Jess near the furnace. If things are going to blow up, he's going to make sure he's nonchalantly in a position to place himself between the furnace and his girl.

When John opens the hatch on the lantern, Luke can't help but snap a hand out to grab at Jess' wrist, but is he protecting her or dealing with his own nerves? Hard to say. And there's no time to either, at that noise from above. "Sweet Christmas, what did you do?" Of course it's John's fault. Sighing like that is surely a sign of admission.

*

Luke reaches out to grab Jessica's wrist. Jess was just reaching into her pocket for her notebook, because she was going to feed the thing already. She gives Luke a startled look, then looks up at John as he gives that beleagured sigh. She tilts her head towards the sound of breaking glass and says, "I. Take it that's not a sign some neighborhood cat hasn't gotten in here to enact the bar version of the 'I don't own a cat' meme. Or. Owen. Who is kind of the same thing."

She shoots John a questioning glance, but she isn't too alarmed. Because John is put-upon and sighing, not running and shouting instructions, or even swearing up a blue streak. No, he just looks mildly annoyed, which means Jessica doesn't see much cause for concern.

Her vote, by the way, is totally Luke's own nerves.

*

First it was the resurrection of Aqua from the tomb of the nineties. Then it was the sound of glass breaking, a thing which most assuredly isn't supposed to happen. And then-

Then it is Luke Cage, saying 'Sweet Christmas,' a thing that causes John's expression to collapse into something delicately pained, like he's trying to ignore a gas cramp in mixed company. Traces of it remain when he turns his head to look over his shoulder. At both of them, but then for the most part at Jess, listening to her enumerate things it might be. For just one half of one heartbeat there's something in his eyes that might be difficult to identify as hope, given how outrageously rare that feeling is for John Constantine, and then his cynicism visibly murders it, and his gaze turns as sour as the rest of his expression. "I should be so lucky," he says, voice rough as gravel, in a tone of voice that says I would NEVER be that lucky.

"Come on, you lot. Let's go find out how inconvenienced we're all about to be," he mutters, and ascends.

*

Feeding and naming the thing will have to wait until later. Cage seems to realize how foolish he is holding Jess' wrist like that, but he covers it up with a shrug and a shove of his hands in the kangaroo pocket of his hoodie. "About that thing you said about astral space…is this us getting broadsided? We're getting broadsided." He glances aside at Jess. "This is us getting broadside, isn't it?" There is a suck against his teeth in a very audible TSCH and a shake of his bald head in a non-verbal 'EVERY DAMN DAY'. Really, they could use some quiet.

*

"Calm down," Jessica says, patting Luke's arm before she follows John up the stairs.

It's as if, between the agitation of the men, she seems compelled to be the calm one of the trio. Uncharacteristically. Then again nothing has ignited her considerable temper in some time…

And she hasn't exactly seen how 'inconvenienced' they are, which could either change things for better or worse. But for right now she is unconcerned, keeping up at a brisk pace but not seeming too panicked or agitated. John's still not running and shouting after all, so it's probably still not DefCon 5.

*

"Nah, mate. We're on the inside of this one. We get clobbered by another dimension while we're still on the inside of this one and you've got bigger problems than-"

It's about this time that John reaches the top of the stairs, stepping aside to make room for them and lapsing into stillness, silence. He tilts his head, sweeps pale eyes around the interior — looking for the broken glass, first, and then the source of it. He finds neither, and to gauge from the subtle change to his expression he isn't relieved by the lack of evidence.

"-than whatever this is."

Things continue to fail to explode for the stretch of time he stands there, looking and listening, so eventually he reaches to lift one side of his coat, sliding the opposite hand into it and retrieving the engraved, silver flip-lighter with the cold iron disk embedded into the front. He holds it out, with the disk side facing away from himself. Turns in place. Looks quite serious about what he's doing, and not at all like a man doing things that would make most people believe he'd gone off his rocker.

Nothing continues to happen.

He flips it open, then hesitates and snaps it closed again. As he's tucking it away, he lifts his chin in their direction. "Light something."

*

Luke trails after the other two, and with each clomp of his foot on the stairs, it's his subtle way of grumping about the entire thing. If that sound of glass breaking was his new back mirror, whatever caused it will have hell to pay. His fists are balled by the time they come out of the back hall into the bar proper, and Constantine is doing his little lighter song and dance. "Did we already piss it off?" Maybe he should have bought some wood. Or coal. Or. Or. He starts patting his pants down for a lighter, but he is still pretending he's not become a full fledged smoker and comes up dry.

*

The lack of broken glass lifts Jessica's eyebrows too. She actually peers over the bar, and all around it, unable to believe there's no physical evidence whatsoever. All of this is happening while Constantine is doing his serious routine of turning in place while he tries to light up. She even ducks her head out the door, just to see if someone broke something on the sidewalk. Because that is weird.

Unable to solve this mystery, she goes with Constantine's suggestion. She notes Luke's lack of a lighter, his ongoing pretense, but doesn't comment on it. Instead, Jessica pulls out a lighter without any fanfare. It's a fliptop, though hers is just a convenience store special, and she tries to light it up, to see if she can.

*

Luke's question gets a slow, distracted shake of John's head, for whatever that's worth, and in the very next moment, Jess strikes a spark on her lighter and they'll all be able to feel it — the momentary warmth as that little patch of heat-shimmer zips up along the stairwell into the room, swirls past them, and over to the flame. It darts through the naked heat of it, a subtle mirage of glistening air circling and floating in an orbit around the hand that holds the lighter — not unlike a fish might, if it were semi-invisible. And, you know. Could fly.

John isn't looking at. He's looking everywhere else.

It appears quickly: a bundle of black and white with a fiery comet of a tail that bullets through the room, diving after the hearth spirit. The jagaubis startles, and for just one, blazing moment, all of the fuel in Jessica's lighter goes up at once, turning the little object into something like a very temporary flamethrower.

*

His eyes narrow at the bright flare from from their little creature friend, "Aw HELL naw." You know why Luke distrusts magic? Because if something goes wrong, there's very little he can do by way of punching, stomping or crushing it. So unless that thing is it's momma coming to take the baby runaway home…the big man is headed to the fire extinguisher (it might not be needed after Constantine's help, but he still has to pass code.) Just because Jess can handle herself, doesn't mean she's fire proof.

*

Jessica yelps as her lighter goes up, holding it away from her face. But holding it all the same, not wanting to drop it in the bar and create another fire. She lets her hand get singed rather than allow that, which means the fire extinguisher may not be necessary? She doesn't even complain after that initial bit of startlement, though once all the fuel is spent she holds out her hot lighter like she's not sure what to do with it?

And then: "John. What's black and white and shoots fire out of its ass? Whatever it is just went downstairs."

This PSA given, she races after it, since the little hearth spirit definitely did not look like that, and it went after their new little buddy. Before she could feed him, even! Maybe it just wants to be friends, but given it nearly torched her eyebrows off she's not counting on that. Also, when is she ever that lucky? Between her luck and John's she's not betting on it being real benign.

*

John throws his arm up and leans back as the lighter turns into a split-second jet engine. When he lowers it to find Luke striding toward the fire extinguisher, he vaults forward and reaches out with one hand, as though any kind of physical attempt to stop Luke Cage from doing anything weren't completely pointless, particularly on his part: John is not an especially beefy guy. "Whoa, whoa. Let's…not take things to eleven yet."

He turns his head to look over the line of his shoulder, tracking Jess as she asks him that question and opens his mouth as though to answer it, but she's already descending, literally hot on the heels of whatever it is menacing their new hearth guardian. She disappears, and John angles a look at Luke sidelong that has something like commiseration in it. "Birds are lemmings," he says, a statement that makes absolutely no sense without some familiarity with English slang.

And with that said, he's off toward the stairs, himself, voice raised to hopefully reach both of them at once: "Can't be pointing an extinguisher at your little resident. First impressions matter. T'any rate, that wasn't it's fault, it just had a bit of a scare."

By the time Jess gets to the bottom of the stairs, the entire basement is aglow, and it isn't the lantern, this time: nothing is burning, but there's fire aplenty. It fountains up, feather-like, from the back end of what looks like-

It looks like a rooster. A black and white, speckled rooster. But it's incorporeal, flakes of ash and scrapes of shadow making up a body that isn't really there, overshadowed in any event by the sparking, gleaming ribbons of fire that stream out of its tail.

It's perched on the furnace at the moment, and seems to be trying to find its way in.

*

Luke is stopped by Constantine, if only because he's not about to bowl over one of Jess' friends. He gets a look of, 'I'm trusting you' which comes with a bit of a growl as he turns away from the extinguisher and follows after John back to the basement. First impressions, indeed.

Oh look. A flame rooster. That's cool. Said, Luke. Never. He just stands near the stairs with his arms crossed over his chest and holds fast. If it's going to flame back upstairs, this time it'll have to try and go through the big man. What's another torched hoodie in the grand scheme of things. He'll leave the wrangling to Constantine and Jess. For now.

*

"Is the rooster trying to eat our little hearth buddy?" Jess asks slowly. "Or is it trying to ask it on a date? Cause I'm having trouble telling." Lemming or not (she heard the comment, and understood, and rolled her eyes, she is not), she has the sense to slow her roll now that she sees the little spirit isn't in immediate danger. Because the rooster isn't in yet. Of course, it's telling that she has already anthrophomorphized it despite hearing it has little or no personality, that she is protective of it and that she has already developed affection for it, which may the mark of a woman taking leave of her senses.

Or just the mark of a great big softie, which she will deny until the day she dies.

Meanwhile she sucks on her burnt hand, because this is her idea of first aid. At least she didn't try to duct tape it. There is at least a 60% chance she will try to duct tape any wound she receives no matter how inappropriate duct tape might be. If duct tape is ever wound appropriate. For now she goes with spit.

*

Most people would find that look from Luke — the implicit warning in it, paired with that dark sound he makes — more than just a little bit intimidating. They'd have good reason. For John it hardly seems to register at all: he's more used to getting that kind of probationary look from people than he is almost any other sort.

At the bottom of the stairs, John narrows his eyes at the ongoing display, and — this is probably not reassuring — after a moment, he digs out his phone.

"Hell if I know," he says, which is also not confidence-bolstering, as statements go. "I've got no bloody idea what that is. As for why it turned up, well…" He sucks his teeth, thumbing through the screens of his phone quickly. "Things get curious about each other. New York's a melting pot. There are all sorts of things knocking about. This one probably wanted to meet the new neighbor." Pause. "Or eat it. Or shag it, yeah. I don't know."

And then, after a moment of reading: "Well, I've got good news, and bad news."

*

"Which is." Luke asks of the double-news, though his sentence doesn't lift up at the end with an implied question mark. His sour expression only softens slightly when it touches on Jess, seeing her suck on her burn, but the concern is masked by the time the steel of his gaze returns to the flaming rooster creature just in case it gets the wise idea to start pecking out eyes or something. The extinguisher is still an option.

*

Jessica is far more curious about the rooster than anything else. "It's kind of pretty," she notes.

And shrugs. Sue her, that shrug says. She can notice. When things are pretty. She can say. It doesn't have to be a Thing. Right? Right.

But at the news that there is good news and bad news she simply quirks a smirk. "Well that's better than the usual when magic starts coming around that didn't generate from either you or Zatanna. Usually the statement is 'well I've got bad news.' Just bad news. It's not liquified darkness or that big tentacle thing. So you know."

After watching a building get eaten by liquid darkness Jessica's threshold for magical things to be scared of rather shot straight up.

*

Luke's lack of amusement is the thing that restores John's. Usually, he is the one burdened with the task of responsible pessimism. It's a refreshing change. He shoots the big man a glittering, blue glance, and then follows it up with a more overtly amused look for Jess. "Good news is, it has a Wikipedia entry — and yeah, I said Wikipedia. It's not as though there's an Ancient Grimoires Dot Com, is it? Sounds to me like this is-" A pause, to reread. "'Aitvaras.' If it dies, which it apparently can do, although the article doesn't bloody say how, it'll turn into a spark. An' that's fine, because your little furnace-dwelling friend will just snap it up, no harm done. In the meantime…" Pause. "And…this…is the bad news…" Another pause. He clears his throat. "Well, it says it 'will lodge itself in a house and will most often refuse to leave.' Brings good and bad luck to the inhabitants. The example it gives is turning up with stolen gold and grain, getting the residents into trouble." He lifts a hand, rubbing it over his stubbled jaw. "If you suddenly start amassing Breitling watches and Cartier bracelets, I suppose you'll know why."

*

"Guess we've got our Christmas list covered." Just as dryly as his expression portrays, Luke rumbles the words to Jess. When their holiday shopping lists merged, the Man Mountain didn't send out a memo. But Jones had to go and call the damn thing pretty and now he's hesitant about just killing the thing. "So what's your advice, Magic Mike?"

*

"We get enough bad luck to balance it out maybe," Jessica says dryly, though not in a way that indicates she'd be counting on that. The last thing Luke needs, or any of them, is an assortment of stolen goods. Still, she doesn't look eager to attack the Aitvaras either, asking, "Do people usually try to run it out? If it's welcomed or placated somehow will it just bring good luck instead of bad luck? Maybe it brings good luck trying to convince people to let it stay, and bad luck out of pique because they tried to run him off."

She grimaces thoughtfully, and asks, "I mean, does he communicate? Or at least understand us? I mean I know you just read about it on Wikipedia, but you have probably encountered spirits like this before, right?"

*

Thumbing the screen dark, John drops it back into his pockets and slides his hands into them, leaning a shoulder into the wall and crossing one ankle over the other, his entire posture relaxed enough to suggest he's not expecting any serious problems.

…granted, he wasn't expecting the Aitvaras, either.

"Unsurprisingly, Wikipedia is light on details," he drawls, tone parched dry. "But I've got a better library back at the flat, and failing that I can pop through London next time 'tanna's feeling spry, and have a look at my library there. Until I know more about it, I'd rather not try anything that might tick it off. It's not from fae, or my lighter would've done for it, so…"

John's entire expression is a shrug. "Mischievous home spirits are usually more trouble than they're worth, grain and gold or no grain and gold, so if it were me, I'd be planning to evict it as soon as bloody possible. But since we don't know how to do that yet, you're going to have to give me a few days to sort out the details. Alternately, you could poke about and see if you can find out where it came from. It's also Lithuanian. Maybe there's a family 'round the neighborhood. Or maybe there used to be. Sometimes these things get bonded to belongings when a household breaks apart."

*

Luke's eyes close when John says it's going to have to stay there while things get sorted out. And stay closed. One count, two count. It's ten whole Mississippis before they reopen. "I'll delay the crews for a week. Can't have that Ativan thing flying around and scaring folk. Superstitious lot." There is a lot of Puerto Ricans that work for his contractor, and the stout Catholics are likely to see it as some kind of demonic sign. "They already think this place is touched." How else would you explain an entire building able to evacuate an explosion without any casualties besides Metas or God's interference?

*

"I'll dig around," Jessica says, pat-patting Luke's arm with her good hand. It's what she's good for, after all, and if the thing's going to be trouble, and delay work crews, then it's definitely important to get rid of it. She just can't bring herself to squeeze the life out of it or something. "But it would probably be good if you sort out the details all the same, John. I may be good at digging, but…hey Lithuanians, do you know anyone who recently lost a spirit rooster?" She shrugs and says, "I'm thinking it's not going to be a line of questioning that gets me super far unless I get lucky. Even if I don't say spirit rooster and say Aitvaras instead."

*

They already think this place is touched, Luke says, and John shoots him a cutting half-smile. "Well, they're not wrong, are they?"

For Jess, and her concerns, he has only another shrug, turning this one to the purpose of levering himself up onto his feet again, straightening his coat. "Fair 'nuff, but it never stopped me." And this is why people think John is crazy. "You'd be surprised at just how many things like this are lurking around New York City. Remind me to tell you sometime about the week I spent looking for a flat when I got here. You wouldn't believe the kinds of things they'll sell you on the real estate market for magicians. It makes the traditional rat infestation look a treat."

With typical lack of fanfare, John turns to begin his ascent and, presumably, his departure, only to pause two steps up and turn back to look at them. "I don't think it can cause any actual damage to the property itself, but I'd recommend not holding onto any especially nice things it might bring you. And, eh…if you see it up to anything strange, give me a bell? I'll let you know as soon as I think I've got sorted how to get rid of it."

Three more stairs up — possibly because he's now out of range of any thrown items — he calls back down, "I won't charge you extra. Aitvaras on the house. This time."

*

Watching John go, Cage gives another shake of his head. "It's a good thing he's pretty." Luke's arm is tense beneath Jess' touch, muscles corded in anticipation of this still going sideways. "I'm going to spend a few nights here until it's sorted. I can't be all the way downtown at Dee's if flaming rooster shit hits the fan." He doesn't have so much as a sleeping bag at the building, but compared to doing hard time in Federal, sleeping on cinderblocks isn't that bad. Not ideal, though. Still, "How's your hand?" He rumbles down at Jones, one of his paws held out palm up in silent polite request to see it.

*

"Bye, John," Jess calls, amused. Both by his commentary that asking after strange shit has never stopped him, and Magical New Yorker Real Estate, and on the fact that they're not being charged for help dealing with the Spirit Rooster of Justice.

Luke asks to see her hand, and she blinks at him like she's not sure what to do with that. But she holds it out to him. "It's fine," she says. Which is standard Jess Doesn't Take Care of Herself Too Well talk, because it's livid and blistering and in need of some ice water and probably some bandaging.

Then again, she does heal pretty fast. "I'm now more worried the bad luck is going to take the form of literal flaming rooster shit, now that you've gone and said that. We gotta work on you not saying foreshadowy things. Like seriously."

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