Catching Up

Summary:
July 20, 2014: Paul and Sara get to talk after the rescue.

Aboard a Navy Vessel.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Thery're escorted to quarters but at least they're provided with food. Lots of food, at Paul's request and he's eating it fast enough that it's unlikely he's tasting anything.

Sara does her best to stay between Paul and the others until they're in a safe place, after which she settles into a seat and lets out a slow breath. "So, welcome back," she says quietly, summoning up a small smile as she watches him eat.

"It's good to be back." Paul says in between mouthfuls. "Damn good. You have no idea how good. And believe me, you don't ever want to know. Did Jason make it back the second time? I left with him in the company of the serpent who tempted Eve with the apple, if you believe that kind of thing. He'd made a deal with her to keep her 'company' for a day."

"He made it back," Sara nods. "I got to spend the intervening time babysitting Etrigan," she grimaces, rubbing a hand at the back of her neck. "Quite possibly the longest day of my life, for the record. How are- How are you feeling?" she asks, watching him closely. "You know, there's a corpse with your name on it back in New York."

"Physically? Nothing that a few days of sleep and food won't fix." Other than physically? Paul doesn't answer that. "I've been giving that some thought. I figure the truth will be best. Demonic magic. We were fighting a demon. It wanted to hurt you by killing your partner. It wanted to hurt me a lot more than just killing me would do. I appeared in another place and the demon left a charred corpse behind that would be identified as me." Exactly the truth. Just not all of it.

"I don't think demons are going to fly with the department, Paul," Sara grimaces. "I was going to go with a meta of some sort, personally. Jason transported me to Gotham before he came back to you in Hell. Twenty-four hours later he came back, and I ended up crashing at Dick's place for another ten before I could report back to the department. Kind of in deep shit at the moment."

"Meta, demon, what the hell's the difference really. A demonic looking meta then, calling itself Etrigan." Paul suggests. "The basic story works. Sticking as close to the truth as possible is usually best." Pausing in eating, he considers Sara and what she's said. "We can figure something out about that too. Transported to Gotham, kept from calling the department. Magic."

"Drugged and kidnapped," Sara says flatly, leaning back and closing her eyes for a moment. "That's what I was going with. Glad you made it back, though," she murmurs, sighing. "Really, really glad. Do you- Yeah, you know, I'm sure you'll have to spend enough time with the department shrinks, I'm not going to ask if you want to talk about it."

Paul eats quietly for a few minutes before saying "You know all those stories about what Hell is like? Don't believe them. It's worse. Jason kept me from the worst of it though. He might have got me put there but he balanced the scales."

"Well, then I feel better about not killing him when he got back," Sara snorts softly, shifting to sit cross-legged. "When he kicked me out, so I could bleed on the streets. Super fun, got to meet a bat. Roy says it was Nightwing. Not even kidding, I'm standing there with the Witchblade and the Spear, and he says he'll let me keep my gun if I put it away." She can't help a flicker of amusement at that, shaking her head.

"Jason promised himself to a forty foot tall snake for twenty four hours straight. And one that just lost the Rapture as he threw it to me so I could escape. I don't want to think what she did to him." Paul tells Sara. "And he goes through worse every time he's down there. I'm pretty sure I heard seventeen hundred years at some point. Jason's an ass but he has a reason to be."

"I didn't say he was a bad guy. I'm the one who said he was a good guy," Sara points out, grimacing. "Hell, I handed him the Rapture trusting that he'd bring it to you instead of leave it for Etrigan. I'm just mildly miffed over the day of mind-fucking." She rubs a hand at her brow, letting out a long breath. "I need to check on him. I need to check on Gerry. In case…In case she lied about killing her."

"We should." Paul agrees. "I wouldn't put lying past her based on or brief meeting. She's down there now." After a couple more bites, he adds "I'm not sure she deserves what's happening to her. I'm not sure anyone does."

Sara Pezzini says, "They don't call it Hell for nothing," Sara shakes her head. "Supposed to be good for the soul, ultimately. Or something. I'm…really not wanting to think too hard about it, honestly. I've still got too much of what Etrigan said in my head, and that's messing me up enough.""

"It's not sentient. Not like yours at the other two." How's that for a subject change? "At least according to Jason." Paul adds. "But it hasn't said anything. I can feel it kind of pushing though like when it did with Trent. Caught me off guard."

"That must be nice," Sara murmurs ruefully to Paul's information. "Although, all sarcasm aside, that's reassuring. It should hopefully make it easier to control. And, judging by what happened earlier, you get a little bit more than just a key out of it," she points out. "You bulked up. And got pretty creepy looking."

"It happened in Hell too. I was better, stronger, faster." Paul notes with a quick grin which fades almost instantly. "And everything down there lost its hold on me. Just being there is oppressive and presses down on you. Everything bad in the universe is there and whispering in the back of your mind. But it all stopped the minute I held it."

"So, the opposite of my usual experience." Sara looks back with a brief flicker of a smile. "They'll probably want to try to take it away. Personally, I don't think that's a good idea. The church obviously wasn't keeping a solid watch on it, and I doubt even SHIELD has what they need to protect it from demons. Better that it be in someone's hands than at loose on the board."

"Etrigan will just try to get it back. Or any of the other demons now that they know it's surfaced. I trust it with us more than I do anyone else." Paul agrees. "If any of them get their hands on it…" He trails off since the conclusion is obvious.

"Yep," Sara agrees, pushing a hand through her hair. "Now we'll just have to explain that to SHIELD. Hill didn't seem thrilled with…any of this," she sighs. "Even the Witchblade. I mean, I get it, it's kind of freaky, but is it really any scarier than Iron Man? Aside from the fact that I didn't build it?"

"Does Iron Man's armor tell him what it wants him to do?" Paul asks. "That's the part that make it freaky. And Hell. And demons. Wouldn't we find them freaky if we didn't have them? Hell, /I/ find it freaky. I mean, all I need to do is think of hell and I instantly know that there's a gate to the third circle about five hundred feet offshore and thirty miles from here. It's underwater. I don't even know what the third circle is!"

"Just because it has opinions doesn't mean it gets what it wants," Sara grumbles. "Not for a couple years, at least." There's a sympathetic look at the last, though. "If it helps, I don't either. But you've got a start on it, Paul. And way more than I had when I first got the Witchblade. We'll see you through this."

Shrugging, Paul gives Sara a glance before returning his attention to his food. "If it has an agenda, it hasn't told me. And I'm just as glad it hasn't. If it's happy just hanging out around my neck, I'm happy to leave it there and generally ignore it. You can maintain the balance, I'll maintain my weight and it'll be business as usual. Once we placate IA, anyway."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Sara agrees with a faint smile. "Though I'll tell you, I'm tired of being outclassed. I've already looked into a couple of options for some real blade training. No more coasting."

"That sounds like a good idea." Paul agrees. He's thought so since the first time he saw her fumbling with her sword. "Which reminds me, what did you do with the spear? Should we keep it too just in case?"

"It's in my broom closet," Sara admits. "I mean, you know. If the order shows up and asks for it, then maybe I'll be willing to give it back. To someone who can use it the way it should be used. But I'm not going to go looking for them. Not after what happened."

"Maybe we should keep it at my place?" Paul suggests. "At least a few… things know you had it last. If they don't find it with you, they'll come looking for me but that might give us some advance notice."

"I was thinking of talking to Lara, too," Sara nods, leaning back and getting a little more comfortable. "If anyone knows of a safe place to keep dangerous things, she does. But you're not wrong," she agrees. "Besides, splitting these things up in general seems to be a good idea. I'm sure the two of us working together will draw enough flak."

Paul shakes his head. "Lara? Who's that? Unless she's another wizard, do you really want to hang a bullseye around her neck with the spear? It was the only thing that really hurt the demon." Granted, he liked it but it hurt him.

"Lara Croft," Sara clarifies. "She's an archeologist, and she's loaded, and she's used to keeping things secure. She takes care of herself pretty well, but I wouldn't ask her to do it without explaining the circumstances. Keeping it distant from both of us would probably be…better in the long run."


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