Clean Up, Aisle Five

September 27, 2018:

Demons invade Danny Rand's house. Hilarity ensues.

Danny Rand's Kitchen

At the end, it's a war zone. Sorry Emery.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Emery Papsworth, Zatanna Zatara

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There is never a dull moment in Manhattan. From Fisk, to a demon take over, to shootings at the TCLE Conference, there isn’t much peace to be had beyond the occasional afternoon where there is a momentary lull.

It seems today is not one of those afternoons.

Luke went into the kitchen to grab a snack, still in his plaid pajama bottoms sans a shirt. He had ever intention of grabbing something and heading back to the bedroom he shares with Jessica to continue binge watching the latest Netflix show. They probably should get around to moving out at some point, but they’re still stalling. Especially since Luke told Jess the other day that Danny is thinking about ditching Gramercy and Luke wants to hold on to their family for just a little longer.

Popcorn, that’s what he wanted. Instead he’s bellowing from the kitchen to the others in the house, his voice carrying easily up the winding staircase. “Uh. GUYS! You’re gonna wanna see THIS.”

As the others arrive, they’ll find the man mountain up on top of the island, wielding a straw broom. “Get BACK.” He’s shouting as he jabs at a Thing with the broom at least until he can figure out WTF to do. The Thing in question is a little shiny red bodied, big nosed creature with two pointed horns on its head. It’s no bigger than a cracked up gerbil with sharp little teeth that it’s currently jabbering at Luke and advancing with wiggling little fingers. He’s not alone either, because on one of the side counters there’s another one trying to wiggle his body into a jar of uncooked pasta noodles, his bloated belly unable to make it past the opening. Another is rooting around in an open package of cookies, consuming them as fast as he can shove them into his little demon mouth.

*

Jessica has been a sleepy Netflix partner. She spent the evening trying to locate Frank Castle. But it's not like she has his number, or a good address. It was a bit hit and miss, so her question about Bryan Russo remains unanswered for the time being.

Which means she's spent a lot of the day asleep and is back in her own PJs, barefoot in soft black pants and a soft black tank top. Luke's shout brings her running, however. She skids to a stop when she sees the state of the kitchen and groans.

"You have got to be shitting me," she grumbles.

But she digs in her phone until she comes up with a rosary. "Alright, hold them off, I have an idea," she adds. It's not like they can hurt Luke. "It's 50/50 whether Emery will kill me for this idea or whether he will thaank me for saving his kitchen, but…Just. Give me a minute."

She goes sprinting towards the utility room. There's a hot water heater with her name on it now.

*

Danny's room is just off the kitchen, so it doesn't take a bellow that cuts through thirty-odd rooms for it to get Danny's attention. He opens the door, rubbing his eyes. He was clearly asleep. He's shirtless and wearing a pair of wide leg pajama bottoms. It takes him a good few seconds for him to wake up enough to process what's happening.

"Awww man. I hoped the security system would keep these things out." Clearly he doesn't know how demons work. He looks around, then grabs an empty wine bottle off the counter and holds it up and ready.

*

It's fine and dandy to assume it won't hurt Luke, but the big man isn't taking any chances ever since his run in with the Aztec God. If a God could do that, what might a demon do? Yup. So he's got a broom. As Jessica tells him to hold them off, there is a little snort from the man. "Wasn't going to invite them to tea!" He calls as she goes running off to who knows where in the house. "Oh, man. Danny. They're like the Keebler Elves from Hell." Sparing a glance over his shoulder, the one he's fending off advances, probably thinking that cookies are small fry compared to a big hunk of chocolate.

*

Jess gets to the hot water heater and pulls out a small notebook. A gift from Zatanna Zatara. She flips through it. "Holy water…holy water…holy shit there are a lot of holy steps to holy water."

She calls up, "They probably hate tea! It…might take me more than a minute!"

She grabs something else from her phone. Salt. And a metal bowl

"Okay. Here goes. Good thing you can do this in English. Too bad Emery isn't here."

But a good thing that making holy water is a basic hedge ritual right?

She dumps salt into the bowl, takes a deep breath, and says, "O salt, creature of God, I exorcise you by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God, by the God who ordered you to be poured into the water by Eliseo the Prophet so that its life-giving powers might be restored. I exorcise you so that you may become a means of salvation for believers, that you may bring health of soul and body to all who make use of you, arid that you may put to flight and drive away from the places where you are sprinkled every apparition, villainy, and turn of devilish deceit, and every unclean spirit, adjured by Him Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen."

Some people might sound majestic and cool while doing this, but Jessica just sounds like an 8-year old doing a cold reading of whatever the text of the day is in the Language Arts lesson.

*

Danny makes a feint forward to see if the little red devils are going to flinch. Regardless of whether they do or not, the ninja moves on the one accosting Luke. He swings the wine bottle around, hoping to hear a solid thwack as it connects.

As he's doing so, he manages to catch a couple words from Jess. "Is she…praying?!"

*

Doing his best baseball impression, Danny connects with the little demon body and it goes flying. Home run! He smacks into the wall with considerable force where there is a loud, audible POP! like Danny pulled the cork from a bottle or someone stuck their thumb in their cheek to make the cartoonish sound. With the sound, the little body splits into two, forming identical twins that are left shaking their head on the floor trying to get their wits back about them. The two buddies who are gorging themselves on dry goods look up from their snacks at the noise, looking over and devolve into fits of giggling.

As Jessica works on her anti-demonic brew in the hot water heater closet, "Think we're going to need more than prayer!" Luke declares as he hops off the counter, aiming to land his considerable weight onto one of the newly formed twins that are now running around the floor. There's another POP! And two more shoot out from either side of his bare foot, snickering as they run away. Where there were three, there now are five.

*

Jessica gets alllll the salt consecrated. "Okay. Step two," she mutters.

"YES I KNOW I'M WORKING ON IT!" she shouts back up the stairs. "STOP DISTRACTING ME IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME!"

Scowling, she mutters, "Step two, safely opening hot water heater."

She Googles that. "Okay, so I just have to…holy shit there are a lot of steps to that too. Step one, turn off power to hot water heater…okay, good, breaker box…"

Jess flips a breaker. The kitchen lights go off. "SORRY!"

She flips it again. The kitchen lights go on. She tries another couple of breakers. "Okay. Okay. Perfect. One shut down and totally safe-to-open hot water heater. Or totally safe-to-open after these…simple…steps…"

*

"Aw…geez," says Danny as he watches the little demon turn into TWO little demons. He couldn't even think up a good curse word to respond to that. "OK so uh, maybe don't hit them? If they get too small they're gonna infest the house and we're never gonna find 'em."

He looks around, then hops up onto the counter, pads across and grabs a colander and a giant soup pot from the hangars to the left of the range. He tosses the big soup pot at Luke. "Try and…uh…shell game 'em." And then he's looking around for the nearest creature to leap on from above and trap under the colander.

*

"Shell…game them." Luke frames the question as a disbelieving statement, but he really doesn't have any better ideas. Soup pot in hand, he begins stalking the cookie thief on the counter, "C'mere demondemondemon…" He coos like he's trying to trap a cat instead of something spawned from hell.

Is it good news or bad news, that as soon as the little skittering demons find something to eat, they start to grow in size. One of the newer ones has already clambered up a stool and has done a nose dive into a bowl of fruit and is consuming a bunch of grapes, stem and all. As his belly swells with the food, he quickly metabolizes it and plumps up to original gerbil size.

There is a clang as Danny slams down his colander on one of the demons still running in circles on the floor. As soon as he's trapped the running becomes more frantic until he's banging against the sides. Gnashing teeth, high pitched squealing and little clawed fingers poke out of the drain holes as he tries to get free. Luke misses his similar attempt as the lights go out momentarily. "Dammit! Where did it go?" The answer would be the top of your head, Luke, where it's currently trying to gnaw on the bald dome to no avail.

*

In the utility room, Jessica gets the water heater open without blowing herself up, or anyone else. She peers into it, and then eyes the amount of salt she's consecrated. She doesn't really want to ruin the water heater. It's the principle of the thing, despite Danny being loaded. Also, she is going to need it to work for what she's trying to do.

It's probably totally going to need a replacement anyway.

She dumps about half the salt in there, then starts the long prayer that now consecrates and exorcises the water, now combined with the consecrated and exorcised salt. She's still reciting those prayers in a monotone, like a kid at a spelling bee, but she's getting every word correct, which probably matters more.

It's not that she's oblivious to the chaos upstairs. She can hear the men shouting. It's just that she's hoping this detour of hers ultimately proves to be more effective than what they're doing.

*

Once the lights go out, Danny kneels on the colander to make sure that it doesn't push up and out. Then the light goes on and his eyes go wide at the demon perching on the big man's head. "Uh…Luke…you have…you have a very strange…hat…ow." His attention wanes enough that one of those claws catches the side of his hand.

*

"SHIT!" Luke scrambles at Danny's warning and the feeling of little clawed paws scampering on his head. He reacts with the same instinct as someone would when a bug unexpectedly lands on them, and he reaches up to swat it off. He's unable to smack it away though, as it clamps onto his hand with its sharp little teeth. They don't pierce, but it's enough to hold on even though Luke is trying to flick it away like a booger stuck to the end of his finger. Out of desperation, he pulls the top off the blender and shoves the little body inside, scraping it off lid and clamping it down. "Now what?!" He asks Danny as they have two of them trapped. Luke's is banging his little fists on the side of the glass and Danny's is now sticking his long forked tongue out of the holes, trying to lick the Immortal Iron Fist.

That's a very big pot of holy water Jess is brewing down there. But it's a good thing Danny didn't upgrade to the in-line water heater yet. Here's his perfect opportunity!

*

It is indeed a huge pot of holy water Jessica is brewing. She finishes the final incantation and pat pats the heater.

Then she goes through the laborious reverse process of getting it all turned back on.

"Just a little longer!" she calls upstairs. She keeps her rosary wrapped around her hand. A strange thing for a kid who was raised Methodist to own, maybe, but she got all sorts of odds and ends when large portions of her business got all mixed up in what she likes to refer to is 'god damn magical bullshit.' Or 'magic crap.' Take your pick.

*

"Jessica, what are you doing?!" Danny calls as the colander bucks under the panicked flailing of the tiny demon. He tries to keep his hand and feet away from the holes of the colander but that's difficult when he's pressing his weight down on it to make sure it can't get out. He winces when the demon gets caught in the blender. He likes that blender. It's good for making hummus. "Um…either…set it to puree or wait and see what your girlfriend is doing in a closet with prayer and salt?"

*

With a 'what the hell' shrug, Luke jams a finger down on one of the buttons that seems appropriate and the blade whirs to life. The little demon inside looks momentarily at Cage with wide eyes before he slips down into the spinning death trap, a cha-CHUNK as he's caught up and soon becomes a nice pink smoothie. Upside? He doesn't duplicate. So there's that.

"Gross."

Armed with a banana from his fruit bowl, another demon takes a flying kamikaze leap off the edge of the counter at Danny and his trapped friend, making a noise that suspiciously sounds like a 'HIYA!' The pasta eater is staring wide eyed at Luke, his bottom lip trembling as he watches his friend get pureed. The fifth one…there were five, weren't there? Where did that little bugger go? Oh, there he is doing the backstroke in the stew Emery has on the stove for dinner.

*

"Possibly costing you thousands of dollars and saving the day!" Jessica calls back. This in response to Danny's query as she gets the water heater all turned on again and sprints back up the stairs.

She's making a beeline for the sink, where she turns on the hot water…

Then grabs up the sprayer. Which in Danny's house? Is no doubt heavy-duty and amazing, right? She turns her holy water canon of justice towards the various imps.

"EAT HOT HOLY WATER, BASTARDS!" She cries.

Too literal for coolness. Too on the nose. But…she still has fun yelling it.

This may be great. Or it may be they gotta make Imp Smoothies one by one.

*

Danny makes a little 'hurk' gagging sound as Luke makes a demon smoothie. He's…he's off hummus for awhile. And milkshakes. And anything blended. "…at least…something…works ow!" he moves a hand out of the reach of the colander demon just as the creature goes all banana ninja on him. He tries to snatch the demon out of the air like plucking a dropping plum from a tree. Which is a thing his masters absolutely made him do because the masters in K'un L'un are kind of assholes. If he manages to do that or even just redirect the creature, he'll do so towards Jessica's holy hot water shower.

*

The demon Danny catches makes a little ACK noise at being caught in his fist, the banana falling helplessly away. (Watch out for that peel, Rand!) He scrambles against Danny's grip, using tiny teeth and claws to try and scratch his way out of the cage of fingers. That is until Rand thrusts his hand into the stream of water and then it shrieks a pained high pitched noise as it's coated. It makes teeny tiny words that sound like a cartooned, "I'm melting, I'm meeeelllltiiing." Doing it's best Wicked Witch impression as it turns into a fistful of goo for the curly headed Defender.

"Danny, catch!" Luke is lobbing a pair of oven mitts at Rand so he can grab the one from under the colander. The pasta culprit has grown wise to the plot, and is scrambling his fat little body into a cabinet and wiggles into a plastic sandwich bag poncho.

*

"HA!" Jessica crows, when she sees holy water does the trick. She keeps the stream going, aiming it at any little demon things she can find, content that the other two Defenders (of the kitchen, no less)…will find a way to get demons into her death stream when they can or when they need to. She, for her part, looks positively gleeful. It's a rare sight on her face, but there it is. Of course, after spending several weeks trying to make her post-bloodloss stroke brain work correctly being able to carry out a multi-step solution that required some thought probably is a hell of a relief.

Not to mention it's fun.

The kitchen's gonna be soaked, but this is fun.

*

"Ow, ow, sss, OW! Son of a…" Danny's getting covered in dozens of tiny scratches from the demon. It's a disgusting relief when the thing in his grip turns into goo. Goo that mixes with his bloody from the cat scratches and sends rivulets of watered down blood down his arm. It looks worse than it is.

It takes Danny a minute to figure out why he's catching an oven mit. Ohhhh. "Wait! I don't have to take him out. It's a strainer thing! Jess, squirt this thing!" Emery would be miffed at him for not knowing its proper name. But the important thing is, water can get in.

*

Emery is going to be miffed about a lot of things when this is over. The demon guts in the blender, Danny's improper terminology. The fact that everything is soaked and that Jess catches the one swimming in the stew. Demon goo is not a great secret ingredient.

As Danny calls Jess' attention to the colander, the demon inside knows that this is the end as it starts to rain down holy water through the holes. He embraces his death the only way he knows how, and he strikes a pose inside like it's the end of Flash Dance, arms splayed out to the sides and his face to the sky.

Luke is after the last known culprit, cramming his arm into the cabinet to fish around on the inside until his fist can close over the sandwich baggied one. As soon as he pulls it out though, scared things do what scared things do and it starts to lose control of its little demonie bowels. "Oh god, oh god, it's PEEING."

*

Jessica can't help it. She just starts laughing, even as she aims the holy water pistol over at Luke. It should sluice off the demon pee in addition to the…well, the demon everything, right? But the detective, who rarely lets out full, intense laughs, does so now. She is usually all chuffs and smirks and the occasional full-on grin, but laughs? Not often.

Poor Luke. Apparently getting peed on by a demon warrants one.

Then again, on the grand scale of all the things they face, all the dangerous and awful risks they take, all the tense moments and all the uncertainties, really, a kitchen full of demons, some mess, and a little pee really is kind of low-key and funny in its way. Jess will take her levity where she can get it, thank you very much.

*

Danny slumps to the kitchen floor. He's wet, covered in demon goo, and his arm looks like an angry kitten mauled it. Add to that, the gore leaks out from the colander and hits his foot. He skitters it away quickly while trying not to look too startled by it. Ew ew ew. He takes a deep breath, then looks at both of them, cracking a grin as Jess laughs. "I guess…if my house had to have demons…" Teeny tiny ones that blend into a slurry aren't so bad.

*

"Not funny!" Luke declares as he shakes out the baggie so the demon falls out the bottom of its make shift rain coat and Jess sprays them both down with ample amounts of salted water that's been blessed. Luke just stands there, dripping from every conceivable point on his body: his nose, his ear lobes, his chin and on down. He's completely straight faced and PISSED OFF.

Until the exact moment he's not.

The laughter hits him suddenly, contagious from the grin on Rand's face and the sound of Jessica's. It starts soft, like a rumble in his chest and builds until he's practically doubled over with it. It feels good. Honest to goodness good.

*

Jessica smirks and turns the water off, then swoops over to plant a kiss right on Luke's bald head, as he's conveniently doubled over. "Yeah, you lucked out Rand," she says. "Fortunately there are wards in the book Zatanna gave me. I should have thought to put them up before, but…I'll get them up now. It should make sure we don't have to tangle with anything bigger. At least not in here. I should probably ward the bar and the apartment building tomorrow. They won't be super-strong wards, because you know. Not a wizard, but…they're still pretty good."

And then her grin fades and she says, "No idea what effect consecrated salt is going to have in your holy-water-heater in the immediate, near, or distant future, Danny. I tried to minimize the damage, but I was serious when I said you were probably going to have to replace that thing. I'll make up some super-soakers full of holy water as a nice alternative for when we need them. The little vials I carry are. You know. For normal times when demons are a once-or-twice a year sort of occurrence."

Note, for those following along in the home audience, these are the normal times.

*

"It um…might be a good idea to shut the hot water heater off…" Danny's really trying to compose himself again. But it's hard when he tries to stand and ends up slipping in demon gore. Ew ew EW. He gets back to his feet and surveys the damage. "That was uh…good thinking? Though um, prob…probably the bathtub and buckets would've also worked?" But he doesn't sound too serious. Honestly, the hot water heater probably needed replacing anyway.

*

Luke's laughter finally fades away as he straightens back up, clutching his stomach from the strain of chuckling so hard. His eyes turn fond following the kiss from Jess, reaching out to loop his arms around her midsection and hug her niiiiice and close to his wet clothing to share the love. "I can drain it and flush the system with some vinegar." Luke assures them both of the water heater, handy like that. He nudges Jess aside with a swat to the backside, "I'll get the mop." Demon goo clean up. Aisle five.

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