A PSA on Demon Literacy

November 03, 2018:

Bruce Banner calls on Psylocke for backup when a demon attacks the library.

Salem Center Library

A picturesque library in Salem Center


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A call comes in, requesting Betsy's assistance. Banner didn't immediately call for help across the X-Men communicator, but chose the far more subtle way of talking to, well, his girlfriend first. A better route. The message reads simply but has a large suggestion of what could be going wrong in the future if it's not dealt with:

"Hi Betsy, I'm at the library in Salem Center. There's a demon in here, though. A few of us are hiding…. Think you could stop by?"

"Oh? A demon?" Betsy is shuffling through a contract, reading fine print, and feigning aloof. "Thought you'd start the fun without me? I mean, it's all fun and games 'til you lose your immortal soul, or like a hand, aye?" By the time she's finished with her reply, she's already in her room and half-dressed. And by that, I mean almost fully dressed because her uniform is really only half-dressed, at best.

"I'm on my way. What is it reading? Should I bring some Tolstoy? Or is it doing something besides perusing the stacks?"

Bruce himself pauses in answering her to move carefully from one stack to another to help an elderly man move across and away from where he sees the demon being destructive. Fortunately it seems to maybe be headed outside… nope. One of the younger children across the way is crying.

"Bruce?" Psylocke is nearing the library on her bike, easing down to a crawl as she surveys the area. She reaches out to Bruce's mind, in hopes of getting a better idea of what he's feeling, and what's going on to cause it. She parks her bike two blocks away and sprints down an alley toward the front of the library. "You're not trying to handle this alone, are you?"

Psylocke encounters the other guy, right away. She sure does find him. He's very easy to find. There's a lot of presence to the Hulk, really. He isn't in an absolute rage, but he has definitely been pulled to the front. He's located roughly in the checkin/out entry area of the library, and a lot of other people are fleeing (and screaming) down the sidewalk out of the public building. The demon was bad, and Hulk is possibly worse.

"Ohh boy," breathes Psylocke as she realizes the gravity of the situation. Either the Hulk is checking out books, or things have gotten far worse since Bruce just picked up the phone. She draws a katana from seemingly…nowhere. It glows with a brilliant pink light as she ascends the steps toward the library doors, and she leaves one thought in Hulk's mind as she does. "I'm here. I'll help you."

"Hulk caught demon," Hulk says proudly at her, but with some disgruntled confusion. He shakes his cupped palms at her. "Hulk did good," he says, in a more challenging tone. But he doesn't seem to be certain about what the next step after this might actually be. Little licks of flame peek out from between his fingers, but Hulk doesn't seem to be concerned about it.

"You caught…" Psylocke trails off, slightly bewildered. Her sword hand drops to her side, and she tilts her head, leaning in toward Hulk's hand to note the flames that lick in between his fingers. "Well I'll be damned. That wasn't the demon I was expecting to see when I got here." She grins up at Hulk and looks around. "So we should probably get it out of here, y'think? Away from people, and then we can figure out what to do with it."

"Hmmmh," Hulk grunts at her, and looks at his hands again as well. It probably is being squashed fairly significantly, judging by the drippy dark bile puddling below his gripped, enormous green hands. "Or smash," Hulk suggests, and squeezes his fists together. There's some demon-pitched shrieking from the fists, which makes Hulk smirk. He's ticked off at the demon, angry as always, but it isn't entirely out of control. It suggests Banner switched over and the demon was caught right away, so no real steam has been built up for the Hulk. "Could throw," Hulk suggests as another good idea. "Or smash."

"Well…if you threw him, he'd just pester someone else. And they're dangerous at, really, any size, Love. Perhaps…perhaps this time, smashin' /is/ the answer…" She's uncertain, but it doesn't look like it could hurt much more than what's already happening, judging by the bile. "Don't you think maybe we should find out where he came from, Darling?"

"Or you could do…that," Psylocke concedes, as she watches the flailing demon slammed against floor and ceiling. "That…that probably was best, after all." She looks around, making sure no one's in the splash zone. This is worse than Sea World. SO. MUCH. WORSE.

Hulk continues to do the motion until he gets bored with it and the demon doesn't seem to move. He doesn't let go, but he does allow the demon to drape out on the floor in the crater he's created. He then shakes it a little, like a cat trying to see if the mouse he just boxed to hell is still alive. He grunts at the demon. Nothing seems to happen.

"Excellent job of smashing. Best smashing I've seen in…at /least/ a month," Psylocke praises. "Got that?" She leans in to look down at the demon, and make sure it doesn't move, either. She reaches in with her sword and prods it once. "It looks like you've beaten the snot out of 'im."

Hulk releases the demon finally when she pokes it with her sword. He watches her with an aloof, distracted expression as she examines what Hulk is judging to now be a corpse. He shrugs a little (a lot, just a small amount with his shoulders), and starts to walk heavily towards the main entrance doors. He ignores the doors themselves, kool-aid mans his way out, shattering one of the doors and shoving aside the other with the side of a wrist, and stands there on the sidewalk, scratching an itch on bare left upper chest pectoral.

Psylocke watches the Hulk go, and looks down at the demon, which is probably dead. But just in case, she plunges her sword into the demon's head, cleaving its mind, if there's any mind left to cleave. Then she lifts him, still skewered and sliding slowly down the sword, which is over her shoulder like a hobo's stick with a very demented bag on the end, following Hulk out. "You're all right, Hulk?"

"Smashing demons," Hulk answers her question distractedly. The tone of the answer is suggestive that it is something he's actively doing. Or trying to do. He's clearly looking around for them, but hasn't any in his immediate vicinity. He growls at the world and its lack of demons, and takes his annoyance out on pushing a very innocent car across the parking lot. And then standing there glowering.

"Yes, I see. You did a SMASH up job on this one." She jerks her chin up, gesturing to the one hanging from her sword behind her shoulder. "I think that's all, though, I'm sorry Sweets." She approaches him and speaks softly. "Let's calm down for now, aye? Just breathe. An' mebbe we can find some more someplace else, y'think?"

"No calm," Hulk snarls at her, in a very 'no nap' type of childish tone. He narrows his eyes at her, a flush of anger surging through his psyche and expression. "No." How dare she try to get Banner back. He's not stupid, see. "Hulk see." He glares at her a little longer, glad to just have something to be angry about. Is he picking a fight about nothing? Quite probably.
"Oh y'see, do ya." It isn't phrased as a question. Psylocke takes a step toward the Hulk and traces a fingertip down his arm. "I've got no problem in th' world with ye, either way. But I'd /rather/ not have a lot o' damage done, even after th' bad guy's smashed." And impaled. And carted around to make sure he didn't come back. "Yer my favourite person, Hulk. Can't say ya don't know that, so pick a fight with me if ye like, but yer not goin' to find much satisfaction in it, b'cause ye know I'm right."

Hulk growls and shakes her off. It's really barely a nudge, but he isn't entirely even fully aware of his strength, and finesse isn't something he's focused on. So she may or may not go flying when he flexes his massive arms and hands to ward her away from petting his arm. After all, her calming gentle touching was very suspicious, so.

"Hulk right," Hulk replies petulantly.

Psylocke takes a few stumbling steps and topples, landing on her behind on the sidewalk. Graceful, to be sure. She should have been prepared for that. Clearly, she was not. She clambers to her feet and dusts herself off, rubbing her behind. "Oh look, you've gone and bruised my….pride," she chides, still rubbing.

"Smashed it," Hulk agrees, squeezing his fists tightly, looking more to the demon that crashed to the ground than at Psylocke specifically at first. She doesn't seem hurt, though, and there's no real trace of guilt on his face for what he did. She DID touch his arm and all. It's equal response. "Find more smash," Hulk declares unnecessarily, and begins to walk directly out into the street. He pauses, to roar challengingly, and then waits, expectant. All the demons should come to fight, right?

"Smashed, yes," Psylocke utters to herself, seemingly in agreement as she shrugs, sighs, and follows the Hulk. "Smash them all. Every demon that comes!" she calls out with encouragement as not one comes out to fight him. "I've got all day, let's do this." Diligent and dedicated, she follows her Hulk…into the fray.

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